TL: By the way, The city of Scholars is read Gakujyuu Toshi, if that means anything to you.
“… I see. My condolences.”
In one of the rooms of the library, I was alone with Clara.
It wasn’t a popular selection, so few people stopped by it.
There’s the fact that the books shelved here were geared at children, but also that kids didn’t come to the library that made its popularity decline.
Arumsaas wasn’t called the city of scholars for nothing, and books were sold in large numbers. Picture books were among the sort that were easier to obtain.
After coming here, and reading through several dozen picture books, I tried striking up a conversation with Clara.
The contents were about how I was staying in an acquaintance’s mansion, and on how through a lot of troublesome events, I got into a fight with one of my comrades.
One of the reasons I came to the picture book room was the fact that Clara was there in itself. At the same, I was also curious about the books I had never read before.
There were some that intrigued me, and some that depicted stories I already knew.
I extended my hand to the mountain of books on the table.
I continued to read as the conversation continued.
“That’s right. Even when Aria burst into laughter at my misfortune, why do I look like the bad guy here… also, it seems our battle coordination’s gotten worse than before.”
I continued to complain without putting the book down, and like me, she continued to read as she responded.
“From what I’ve heard, aren’t you being overly conscious of her? I have no love experience, but I know of some such precedents from some books.”
“Don’t books and reality differ?”
“There are some written based on fact, and more importantly, based on what you’ve told me, you aren’t hated or anything. If you were truly hated, she wouldn’t be taking such a blatantly unpleasant attitude towards you. She would either treat you like you weren’t there, or would act like it was stressful to her psyche just to deal with you. There was something like that written somewhere.”
While I get the feeling she’s relying on book knowledge a bit much, I wasn’t really one to speak on the matter, so I decided to accept her advice.
“I guess it was before we came to Arumsaas? She was cold, and there was a sense of distance between us. That’s how it was before, but nowadays, she immediately gets mad at me.”
Putting aside the book I finished, I picked up the next one.
“… Was there some trigger? Did you do anything to draw her attention?”
“Not that I…”
As I was unable to remember anything, I heard a sigh followed by a voice from the Jewel.
One line from the Fourth.
『The moon sure is beautiful tonight.』
Hearing that, I remembered. Come to think of it, she acted slightly strange around that time.
“… The moon sure is beautiful tonight. I said something like that once. I mean, there was a pretty moon in the sky, and when I said that while looking at it, Aria started behaving strange.”
Clara stared at me with her drowsy eyes.
Noticing her looking at me, I turned to her as well.
She turned her eyes back to the picture book in her hand for a moment, before looking at my face again.
“… Perhaps your reading selection is a little bias. Have you ever read romance?”
I tried to recall something like that, but I don’t think I’ve read any.
What I mostly read while in the mansion were tales of adventure geared at children, I think.
Adventurers rise up, or perhaps a hero stands against a formidable foe. All of them ended with the princess as a bride, and a happy ending.
There weren’t any with romance as the main topic.
“None, I don’t think. No, I’m a man, and those are a little hard to stick my hands into.”
I found some agreement in the Third.
『Ah~ I kinda get it. They exist, don’t they. Those guys that say it’s weird for guys to read some stuff. I just wanted to read a wide assortment so I ignored them, though. I see, so you were conscious about that sort of thing, Lyle… but there’s a surprisingly high amount of people that read those sorts of stories.』
Oh, so I could have read them too, I thought, as Clara spoke.
“In a single romance novel that was written long ago, there was a passage that compared a woman to the moon. The end of that story… no, it would be rude of me to spoil the conclusion. I’ll tell you the title, so try reading it.”
“Eh? After you tell me that much, I can’t help but be curious… if it’s an old book, then will it be a little hard to read?”
“No. It’s one that’s been rewritten into modern dialect, so it’s quite simple. And wait, it’s quite a wide-read title among women.”
Hearing that, I recalled the words the Fourth imparted on me a while ago. He screamed ‘The bastard did it!’ or something of the sort, but could he have perhaps been referring to this?
Meaning the Fourth was a reader of romance novels?
Glasses wearing, and noisy about money, as well as the mediator among the ancestors. I try imagining him reading such things.
(… It’s a bit unfitting, or how should I put it, intriguing?)
But thinking of his attitude towards women, I think it wouldn’t be strange for him to be knowledgeable on matters like that.
“… So I confessed?”
As I muttered that, Clara turned her eyes back to the book.
“That you did.”
“So I did…”
I while passed with us just reading our books.
In my head, I was frantically thinking of what to do about Aria, and the books contents weren’t entering it at all.
Thus spoke the Seventh.
『Just what sort of conversation are you trying to have in the picture book corner, Lyle…』
Having exited the library, I tried peeping into one of the famous academies of the city.
Even from the outside of the school that could be called the center of the city, one could see a large number of youths gathering.
In order to instill their minds with knowledge, in order to instill their bodies with skills, in order to research…
The difference between this city and others was, perhaps, the clear emphasis this one had on education. Normally, their territory management would be a mess, but along with the students, a large stock of money flowed in from afar.
The fruits of their research birthed massive profits, and held the name of the City of Scholars true.
Of course, the cost of such research is just as massive.
As I wasn’t a student of the academy, I could only look from the outside, but looking at the building itself, I was shocked.
While the city gave off a jumbled feeling, only the academy gave off a sturdy feeling, as if it were built as a fortress.
Men and women wearing uniforms chatted back and forth, and I saw some reading books as well.
“So this is the academy… It’s quite different to how I imagined.”
It was meant for studying, so imagined a narrower space. From the atmosphere surrounding the city, I was sure it would prioritize function over aesthetics.
A similar opinion came out from the Jewel.
『Oy, that’s finer than the manor I lived in!』
The third as well.
『I’d heard of its scale, but this is greater than I thought. And wait, I get the feeling the city placed high emphasis on this place alone. The feeling it gives off is completely different.』
The Fourth had something else on his mind.
『Just how much would something like that cost? I get the feeling it was quite a waste.』
『Education surely is important. No, wait, that’s the main aspect of the city of scholars, so I can imagine them putting a lot of money towards it… I wonder how the current Weihs territory is faring.』
The Sixth recalled his own time.
『It experienced some development from your time, Fifth, but something like this is beyond…』
In the end, the Seventh…
『There was no point in competing with the city of scholars. If those that learned a field to an extent still craved for more, it was natural for them to aim for this place.』
It seems that my ancestors also valued the importance of education.
But this city was on another level.
(Come to think of it, I don’t actually know too much about the Weihs territory.)
I knew its scale from the numbers I saw on paper.
But even when it was my homeland, I knew much too little about it.
There was the fact that I was in something like house arrest, but I left as soon as I was kicked out, and now, I feel it was a tad bit of a waste.
(I should have shown the First the current Weihs territory.)
Just what feelings did these men have when they expanded it, I’ve gained an opportunity to obtain a slight understanding of that.
And I think of that as an extremely valuable experience.
As I was absentmindedly staring at the building, the figure of an acquaintance appeared at the gate.
A few girls wearing the same uniforms were walking with Miranda-san at the center.
“If it isn’t Lyle. What’s up?”
The two walking beside her looked at me, and spoke.
“Miranda’s acquaintance? Could it be your boyfriend?”
Miranda-san hurriedly denied it.
“No, he’s someone living at my mansion, and a friend of a friend!”
Hearing the portion about living at her house, her friends started growing loud.
While thinking that Miranda-san had it rough, I called out.
“Today I thought I’d try looking at the academy. I guess just as some sightseeing in the city of scholars.”
As I said that, Miranda-san responded in a tired fashion.
I think she was worn out from trying to convince her friends.
“Really? I’m not really sure if I’d see it was a tourist spot, but… still, there are quite a few who come to see it.”
As I thought, to the people who stop by the city, the academy was a rare sight.
(There’s its scale, and I don’t feel it was a waste to come see it.)
Miranda-san asked about my plans.
“Ah, right. Lyle, are you free after this?”
“… I’m free. Today’s fundamentally a break for me.”
After work finished, there was always a break planned in somewhere. There’s the fear of someone suddenly undergoing a Growth, as well as alleviating built up fatigue, and conducting weapon maintenance.
The greatest thing to be feared was the elevated spirits caused by Growth.
During that time, people tend to try and do really, really stupid things.
(Well, I won’t be having them all too frequently.)
I complained in my heart, while Miranda-san started looking at me with upturned eyes.
“Then I have a small request, but are you fine with that?”
“A request, is it? Well, since it’s a favor for my landlord, if it’s within the extent of my ability.”
The reason I stressed the landlord part was so as to not generate any misunderstandings among Miranda-san’s friends.
“Really? Thank goodness! The truth is I wanted to go to the guild, but it’s scary there. So won’t you accompany me?”
“To the Guild? Are you going to put up a request, or something?”
When a civilian ventured to the guild, it was mainly to put out a request. They occasionally went to purchase monster parts as well.
“I’m just going for the request, but these girls want to buy some materials. I’m registered as an adventurer, for argument’s sake. Academy students are often called to complete requests with their knowledge and skills.”
I wonder if that’s how it works in the city of scholars.
“Then are you not used to the guild?”
“How cold. Unlike you guys, I don’t frequent it. There are kids out there who just want some money, or just need to collect some materials for their research projects. When they’re admitted into the academy, students also register as adventurers, and unrelated people even go to it in order to erase their registration.”
There are many types out there, I guess.
But with all girls, I am slightly anxious about the guild’s atmosphere.
(Still, this guild’s on the better side in appearance and manners.)
As befitting of the city, there were few ill-bred adventurers.
I won’t say there are none.
“Understood. I will accompany you.”
“I see! Thanks~.”
Miranda-san clapped her hands together, and offered her thanks.
I’d like her to do something about the two grinning girls beside her, I thought, as I escorted the three of them to the guild.
When we arrived, we took care of Miranda-san’s business turning in request paperwork first.
Her friends, who came to buy monster materials seemed to be planning on having me carry the bags on the way back.
I thought I may have made a mistake, but I think it would be bad if I messed up Miranda-sans relations with my refusal, so I planned to take up the task anyways.
(Well, I’ll just think of it as working towards my rent.)
When we proceeded to the second floor for the paperwork, I found Clara there.
“If it isn’t Clara. We sure meet a lot. Is it adventurer work this time?
As I called out to her, she turned to my direction.
“Yes, I heard an interesting request was to be put out… it seems to concern you, Lyle-san.”
I tilted my head.
As I was stuck unable to comprehend, Miranda-san headed off to the counter.
From what I can see, the surrounding adventurers were watching her.
While she is a beauty to draw the eye, it wasn’t just men looking at here. There were women as well.
I inclined my ears to the whispers around.
“What sort of request is it this time?”
“If it’s a request from one of the seven great, the reward must be great…”
“It’s best not to get involved. Be wary.”
“It looks like it’s true that the man’s found even coming to the guild to be a pain nowadays, and he’s sending student representative in his place.”
“No matter how good the rewards may be, they’re always requests that outweigh them.”
From the looks and the words… it seems that Miranda-san came to submit the request of 【Damien Valle】 of the seven great.
As if the receptionist’s cold reception was a lie, he was fidgeting.
『So it becomes a rumor even before the request’s put out? I wonder just what sort of man this pervert is.』
(I don’t really want to think about it, or more so, it seems that someone I don’t want to get involved with is Miranda-san’s acquaintance. I see, so that’s why she was knowledgeable about it.)
The one I heard the rumors of Damien from was Miranda-san.
He was a professor, and she a student, so it wouldn’t be strange for them to have some interaction.
I finally understood what Clara meant when she said I was involved.
And interesting request was Damien Valle’s.
Clara started talking.
“For good or bad, requests from the seven great have an influence on other requests. Large sums are involved, so adventurers fight over them, or perhaps try to obstruct. In order not to get involved with such troubles, they’re here to confirm the request’s contents.”
“Yes, obstruction, well, there are various sorts… for example, if there was a request to transport a precious article, word would spread, and the adventurer who accepted it would become known. If there were bad people, they would target the acceptors, and there have been cases where such items were stolen. Fame works both ways.”
It seems there was also precedent where adventurers tasked with collecting large amounts of monster materials were attacked while carrying around those materials unaware.
What a troublesome story.
From the point of view of a solo adventurer like Clara, this sort of information gathering must be important.
While we conversed, a staff member walked out to tack the request form on the board.
(Even to the guild, they’re troubled if disputes break out.)
Looking at the clerk’s reluctant face, I got that sort of idea.
As I wasn’t familiar with Arumsaas, Clara continued explaining.
“Here, the academy’s influence is greater than the guild’s, so even if they know that unrest will break out, they cannot reject the request. The ones that go through trouble are the adventurers, so here I am collecting information in order to evade crisis.”
I thought she just lived in her own world, but it seems that in order to live, she’s developed some stubbornness.
(Well, if she didn’t she couldn’t get on alone, I guess.)
The adventurers all crowded around the form, and I asked Miranda-san for the contents as she approached.
Clara also thought that hearing it from Miranda was more efficient than looking at the sheet, so she stayed beside me.
“It looks like quite a popular request.”
As I said that with a cynical tone, Miranda-san gave a bitter smile.
“The individual himself is putting it out in all earnesty. But the contents are what they are. More importantly, I’m surprised they figured out I was submitting it in the professor’s place.”
Miranda-san looked perplexed, and Clara explained.
“There are some who actively act as adventurers while being enrolled at the academy, so perhaps the information leaked from there. He wrote a request form to the academy for the funds to put up the request, right? It spread from there.”
“Clara-san? You guys are getting on surprisingly well.”
While she was grinning at me, I asked Miranda-san for the contents of the pinned up sheet.
They were as follows.
… I request for materials from the boss on the Fortieth Underground Level of Arumsaas’ labyrinth…
… Time period: one month…
… Reward: a thousand gold coins, or some suitable item…
… Permission to challenge the labyrinth is given upon acceptance of this request…
“… One thousand gold coins. That’s quite amazing.”
With my previous standing, I wouldn’t have been too surprised about one thousand gold before.
But I’m currently living as an adventurer, and my sense of money is slowly starting to change.
“As expected of the seven great. I’m surprised the academy put together that much funding for him.”
Miranda-san also seemed fed up.
It’s just that Clara-san was making a slightly questioning expression.
The Fourth spoke to me.
『Don’t be fooled, Lyle. It isn’t saying it’ll pay out a thousand gold. It says either that, or something suitable. Look around at the other adventurers’ faces.』
As told, I looked around, to find them all with questionable expressions.
『I don’t think this requester has an intent of paying out one thousand gold. Also, the suitable item isn’t specified. It’s nothing but suspicious.』
I asked Clara.
“What sort of thing is the fortieth underground level’s boss?”
“… The last time the lowest floor was confirmed was five years ago. At that time, apparently fifty was the lowest. In the Arumsaas labyrinth which is set to have a boss stationed every ten floors down, the areas where adventurers frequent to take on monsters are around the tenth to the twentieth floors. This labyrinth is designed to expand out the lower one goes.”
“It’s an exceedingly strenuous request. While a majority of Arumsaas’ adventurers are skilled, they focus on efficiency. There are few who would go delve into such a deep land to be found here, when compared to other guilds.”
What about the one who went all the way to the bottom five years ago?
As I thought that, I remembered that it was five years ago, so I could imagine various scenarios.
(He retired, or changed homes…)
It seems it was as I thought. Sensing my question, Clara offered an answer.
“The party that discovered the lowest floor was disbanded. I believe one has opened a private school somewhere within the city.”
Hearing that, Miranda-san made a troubled expression.
“Eh? Won’t that make it ridiculously difficult to accomplish? In that case, the professor is going to be irritated for a while…”
Is that a student-like worry? Well, even if it’s unrelated to me, there was a point that made me curious.
“So the adventurer that reached the bottom opened a school… do you know the location?”
“Ah, Lyle, that’s cold!”
Miranda started arguing, so I went around her, and asked Clara.
She nodded, took out a memo pad, and started scribbling something down.
The Sixth let out his voice from the Jewel.
『An adventurer that prodigious opened a school, is it… it’s good that you’re interested, Lyle.』
I think that was praise.
Handing over the memo, Clara offered some advice.
“And about the seven great’s request, if you’re just going to accept it, and nothing else, that may be good.”
“Yes, it gives you permission to challenge the labyrinth, so just by accepting it, those that were unable to obtain the right before can dive in. The labyrinth is definitely going to get lively soon.”
Saying that, Clara departed from the guild.