Chapter 68: Sometimes your Friends will Act Different in Front of their Friends than with their Family
“Is he going to be alright?”
I look over, and there is Ragnall, hanging out a little ways down the street.
“Ragnall, you didn’t head back yet?”
“I went to an information broker to hear if there were any suspicious movements towards Seimei-san, but then I came back. Although I don’t think it will be a secret much longer, until Seimei-san says otherwise, we need to make it seem like you’re not really affiliated with them. It would be strange for 1 guard to return when the other is still with the commissioner.”
Oh, I wasn’t even thinking about that. I feel like pretending I have nothing to do with the gamers was a lost cause from the beginning.
But, haa, he saw Masaki’s half-breakdown, huh?
“… I suppose I didn’t really think about it, but all of you disappeared without a trace from your families.”
“Ah… yeah. I had also forgotten until today. For Masaki and the others, I’m sure they’re worried sick.”
“It isn’t an issue for yourself?”
I think a little bit.
“That … well, my grandparents, who I lived with, passed away shortly before we ended up here, but you’re right. Even if they aren’t as close as my immediate family, there are still people who would worry about me. It was thoughtless for me to forget about them.”
Even if I didn’t quite get along with my uncle, I’m not heartless enough to assume he wouldn’t be worried if I went missing. He was just a man who wasn’t comfortable with showing his emotions.
“I guess it didn’t seem real at first? And not knowing what to do or if there was even anything I could do, I just kind of … Well, now I guess, after finding the others, it feels a little more real.”
We walked onwards in silence.
“Huh? Ragnall, you’re heading to the Guild too? At this hour?”
“Yeah, I have to take other commissions to keep my earning wages high.”
“Earning … even after that last hunt?”
“Ah … that amount of money will be eaten up before you know it.”
How?! I’ve been afraid to ask this entire time, but exactly where does you money go, Ragnall?
Noticing my look of shock and horror, Ragnall quickly explains.
“Well, it’s not like it’ll be gone in a day or something, but I always have to be planning ahead, see.”
Ah … money grubber, huh? I completely understand his nickname now.
“I can’t believe you do other commissions after following Seimei-san all day.”
“Look at you, you go straight to the forge at the Guild afterwards, right?”
… Well, if you put it that way.
“There just aren’t enough hours in a day.”
Haa … even though Maryiste said it would be alright, I’m having a lot of regrets.
It would be better if she said “No,” honestly.
Swoosh! Basha! Clang!
Noises that sound like they belong to some mecha anime come from the hammer and anvil sandwiching the item I’m working on.
The heat needed for this is so high that ordinarily I’d require dragon fire to shape it, but I’m basically creating plasma myself, so I can manage it.
Of course I’m using Barriers like crazy, y’know, to keep the room from melting, or to avoid burning myself to death.
Btw, it’s a mithril/adamantium hammer and anvil I’m using.
I paid it off, but my savings took a huge dip. I guess I can’t make fun of Ragnall for using too much money…
Even with mithril and admantium, I have to surge a protective Barrier magic through them to avoid having them melt.
I can feel my MP draining away, and I know I’ll be scolded harshly by Helward and Ossan if they saw me recklessly forging this sword, but this time, I’m going to MAX.
This isn’t a sword I can afford to skimp on.
The only problem is that it’s … hard to see with this light being emitted … from the plasma and stuff…
Using Magic Sensory as my only guide, this sword will be forged to the absolute best of my abilities.
And now …
Although normally I would be careful in keeping the lowering temperature even, this time I full-heartedly drop the temperature of the blade.
There isn’t even a hint of a sound of the blade creaking as the temperature drops.
However, the Barriers crack from the sudden vacuum of cooling air.
I have yet to figure out if magic has volume or weight, but apparently the pressure of the vacuum as the area is suddenly cooled will destroy non-attribute Barriers.
If I couldn’t go with a katana, this is probably the style of sword I would have gone with.
It’s lighter, designed for one-handed use, and has a more drastic curve.
Well, in the end I prefer the katana, but this sword that I’m making isn’t for me anyway.
The western cavalry saber.
I look down the blade.
What a fantasy weapon.
Not the style of sword, but the material. An eerie chill comes off the blade, and it’s translucent. Kind of a frosted white-blue. It looks like it is made out of ice.
“ – the hell are you doing?!”
I turn quickly, hearing the voice from behind me.
“Sorry, what was that?”
A twig-thin halfling is standing … really far back, pale-faced and shaking.
“Jun, you are going to kill us all one of these days.”
“Nn? I had it under control though?”
“And I couldn’t tell because it was like looking into the surface of the sun.”
… Well, I guess I can see the concern.
“So what did you need me for, Horfult?”
Horfult the halfling sighed.
“Don’t tell me you forgot. Here, I tanned the wyvern hide for you.”
“Oh, great! Thanks.”
“I can really keep the extra?”
“Yeah, it’s fine.”
I have a lot more full wyverns in Inventory … anyway, right now the non-Labyrinth wyverns, that is, the wyverns who live normally in this world, are migrating through this area, so the price to sell the materials are cheaper than usual.
Maa, it’s still a lot of money, though.
While talking with Horfult, I fill the sword with magic, then suddenly thrust it into a piece of wood before pulling it out and expanding the magic.
It’s the skill, <Keen Edge>, followed by <Excavation>.
I have hollowed out the wood so that the hollow has the shape of the sword.
I’m no carpenter, but I can at least make a sheath with magic now.
Idly chatting with Horfult, who is still nervously keeping his distance, I finish up the sheath within an hour.
Eh? What kind of cheat did I use to be able to finish it that quickly?
This isn’t a cheat. It’s plain magic, you know?
Anyway, it’s time to meet with the gamers and Ragnall.
He seems fidgety lately, especially now that the other gamers have come.
When I asked him about it last night, he said,
“That commission from the Guild when I first met you is still ongoing right now…”
Ah, so since Seimei-san is more or less well-protected by the gamers, you wish you could go back and devote more time to that commission, huh?
Although I don’t know what that commission is.
It’s the one with the… um … dead guys, right?
That’s not it… it’s the one investigating who’s been behind all the nefarious deeds in Nyl City.
That’s important, but hanging around the Carnus VIPs should be beneficial to that commission too.
“Yeah, that’s why I’m sticking with it. Well, I have enough money after that monster hunt; it’s just hard to shake the feeling like I should be using my time better to make more money.”
Anyway, I’m running a little late, so I bolt out the door of the Guild Hall with sword in hand.
“… Are we really going to my place?”
“Well, yeah. Let’s a-go!”
Although her manner is still subdued from yesterday, Midori-chan is somewhat energetically dragging me along.
It seems like, after having a night to process it, the gamers have at least come to terms with what we all discussed last night.
It’s not that I have no worries about it myself. It’s just, you know, there’s nothing we can do about anything right now?
Even if we know about someone summoning us, in the first place, is it possible for us to find out what or who it is? We don’t have even the first idea of what to do to investigate it. Is there really a point to getting so worked up about it?
If we calmly tackle the things right in front of us, it will be more productive than worrying ourselves sick, and when we grasp the end of all the mysteries that bother us, then we can run full speed ahead to tackles those problems
– Well, that’s how I feel deep down, but even I understand that this mysterious calmness isn’t normal. It’s to the degree that people used to wonder if my mother dying did some weird psychological damage to me to be unable to show my emotions well or something.
That’s not the case at all. If I cry and stay depressed in my room, will my mother come back? If I argue and scream will Grandma, Grandfather, and that house still be there? If I throw a tantrum, will we suddenly return to Japan?
If that’s the case, all I can do is live my life the best I can in an upright manner that my kind and gentle mother and Grandma would approve of. If I find a clue about the way to get back to Japan, I’ll tackle that issue with all my strength. If I discover who brought us here, I’ll judge his/her actions with my own eyes and deal with the problems that come from it as they come.
Hm? Why did I suddenly start talking about my philosophy on life when I never did so before?
You know, I’m really trying hard not to think about what’s going to come soon.
“Hm? Where is the place you’re staying? I thought most of the inns were to the north of town?”
Eh… to think Tatsu-san already knew that.
“Oh, I see, Jun isn’t staying at an inn.”
Midori-chan giggles, pulling me along.
Reading the mood well, he was walking behind a little ways since the gamers all seemed kind of depressed, as if they were putting on a bit of a front. He thoughtfully held back and just watched our surroundings for intruders, but now he seems surprised, hearing the confusion in the gamers’ voices.
Dangit. Now he’s realized that no one knows where I’m staying, and starting to snicker.
… He’s not going to tell them either, huh? Looking forward to the big reveal, huh?
He’s having way too much fun with this.
“The place I’m staying at is in the southwest of town.”
All 4 of them, Seimei-san, Masaki, Tatsu-san, and Midori-chan said that absentmindedly.
I guess they don’t know what the southwest district of Nyl City is, or they’re all still deep in thought about our situation.
We walk on in silence.
Seimei-san pushed his Analyze glasses up the bridge of his nose.
“Jun … correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the red-light district?”
“Maa, come on in…”
Masaki, your grip on my shoulder is kind of hurting.
“Are you living in a brothel?”
“… It’s more like a hostess club.”
“So they don’t take clients into a back room and …”
“… No, they do…”
“You freaking riajuu!”
And now I’m in a (ineffective) headlock.
“Waitwaitwait, seriously, wait! It’s not like that at all!”
“Dammit, you’ve always been popular before, and now YOU’RE the one with the brothel harem?!”
Wait, what? I’ve never heard about that before!
“Ack, that’s not -!”
“Mou, Masaki! Forget your teenage-boy hormones for a second. Isn’t it more serious that a young girl like Jun is staying in a brothel?!”
As Midori-chan scolded Masaki, both of us were startled from our horsing around.
That’s right, I’m a girl. Somehow we both forgot for a second.
It seems like the others are taking Masaki’s outburst as a sign of … pent-up frustrations.
Seimei-san looks like he wants to say something but is trying not to.
Tatsu-san has no reservations.
“Aw, yeah! So there’s hot babes here, right? So you mean if I – “
“It’s not working hours though.”
“Dang it, we shoulda come last night-!”
They’re making such a fuss… stop laughing over there and help me, Ragnall!
“You know, the people around here work late hours, so if you’re going to make so much noise, you should come in.”
Ah. Solyana, the true kuudere who exudes sexiness even in normal clothes, stands in the doorway, a little frown on her face.
“Ah, sorry Solyana, for troubling everyone with this.”
I scratch the back of my head sheepishly.
Although by all rights they should still be sleeping this early in the morning, I can tell the girls at The Queen Mary’s are almost all awake already.
Could it be because they wanted to welcome my friends?
Solyana glares at me, but her face softens and then she quickly looks away.
“It’s not like it’s too much trouble. Since you’re rarely around anymore. It’s fine to be a little more selfish, you know.”
Solyana mumbles it before walking briskly into the shop.
“Aaah, I see how it is. It seems like they’re some good Onee-sans, huh?”
She could tell just from that short exchange? Girls’ intuitions are too sharp.
Tatsu-san seems paralyzed by Solyana’s beauty.
As Midori-chan prods Tatsu-san into the shop, with Seimei-san following, Masaki grabs me and whispers,
“Jun, what are you doing, making such a beautiful woman lonely? Dangit, you’re still attracting girls even as a girl.”
And then he slaps me on the back and follows Seimei-san in.
I think you’re wrong though? Instead of thoughts about a lover, the girls here worry about me more like I’m their younger sibling.
Well, compared to me, Masaki has always been the type who sees love-stories everywhere.
Ah, as soon as we walk into the main drinking hall area, all the guys are frozen.
To think Erina-sama’s appearance KO’ed them so completely… well, she’s Erina-SAMA for a reason, after all.
“Eheheh, Jun-chan’s guests are here? Welcome!”
The beautiful women who come into the room when they heard Erina-sama’s voice make the gamers stiffen even more.
Well, yeah. I understand. I completely understand your feelings-!
By the way, there have been a lot of changes to The Queen Mary’s and the surrounding area.
To begin with, although this area is considered the red-light district, it’s not like it’s only brothels all down the street. Other shops of questionable morality also exist.
However, just because the morality is questionable, it doesn’t mean the legality is as well. This is a Labyrinth City. Although there are ways that people keep the peace here, there aren’t laws about what is allowed to be sold and what isn’t.
Demand and supply are the only limitations.
Despite that, or maybe because of it, even though this area has shadier business dealings, it isn’t like some sleazy alleyway where just walking down the street could get you mugged – or killed.
Although you should be more careful here than in other areas of the city.
How should I put it … like, this district is only here for convenience? The sleazy businessmen prefer cheap lodgings, alcohol, and women, so around the shady businesses it’s those types of commodities that popped up, and thus the red-light district, with the highest concentration of sex-related businesses, was born.
Also, it’s easier for citizens of other countries to do their more questionable transactions while avoiding their fellow citizens if there was a place like this, where normal, “well-mannered” citizens would normally not go.
Anyway, to help regulate the questionable requests, the Guild put in a branch office in this area.
It’s really small, and apparently the commissions can be marked by the commissioner to avoid being put in the database … it really is for THOSE kinds of requests.
Huh? When did the Guild put in a branch office?
… Those bastards. No, not bastard”s”. It’s just Dobin.
Taking advantage of the disruption that damaged The Queen Mary’s, they bought out the neighboring business near the shop that also got damaged a bit, and, while helping repair The Queen Mary’s, they somehow also renovated the other building into their branch office before anyone else noticed.
Kuuu, even though they would have helped with The Queen Mary’s repairs regardless, since it helped them disguise their own construction until it was too late for anyone to protest, Dobin still used it as a bargaining chip in getting me to take the escort commission-!
Haa… oh well, in the end it turned out ok, I guess.
And now I don’t have to worry about people attacking The Queen Mary’s, with the Guild right next to them.
It’s a win-win situation?
Although I still feel like I got ripped off.
A/n: Thank you dvang4 and MK for your donations!>