Chapter 84: The Preparations Before a Journey should be Well-planned Out … So You Know at Least One Way Things WON’T Work Out.
I understand why Ragnall would be at Seimei-san’s house.
I mean, we, both he and I, are still on the job for another 4 days.
“I wonder why Lor is going there…”
Hibiki-chan tilted her head.
“Ragnall is the white-haired man from yesterday, isn’t he? Ah, but who is Lor?”
“A half elf who’s … kind of like a researcher? I’ve helped him out with some stuff here and there… although I apparently have no talent for any of it.”
The things Lor is into are things like Magic Theory, Medicines, and Languages.
They are things that are impossible for me to be useful in, and Lor discovered that the hard way.
“He’s a good guy who’s helped me out a lot.”
I tried to explain that Lor wasn’t much of a threat, but I don’t want to come out and say, “He’s not a threat.”
I mean, Hibiki-chan comes from a different situation than me, and she might have different ideas of what ‘being a threat’ is, so I should leave the judgment of how much she should trust him to the person herself.
The guards are back around Seimei-san’s house.
Or like, aren’t there more than usual?
Hibiki-chan kind of hides behind me as we walk up to the door.
“Hmph. Is it a custom among Adventurers to bring baggage along to their jobs?”
Oh, the annoying guard captain is here. Yay.
He looks down his nose at Hibiki-chan, and when he sees her ears, he gives a snort of disapproval.
“As much as it is the custom for you guards to not be around when the city is being attacked.”
I heard it from Seimei-san, you know, about how he basically had to force you guys out of the barracks during all that ruckus.
I mean, you guys were in your barracks at Sir Knight Captain’s house right when your charge was attacked. Even if you say it technically wasn’t your job to do anything, since you were only assigned to guard Seimei-san’s property and when he travels outside of Nyl City…
Right? They’d be in super big trouble back in Carnus if anything happened to Seimei-san.
The guard captain guy looks like he wants to kill me, so I quickly shove Hibiki through the door.
He’s such a bad judge of character, no, more like a bad judge of … social interaction?
I mean, he was picking a fight with Dobin-san when I first saw him.
“Excuse me, Seimei-san?”
“Ah, Jun-kun. Come into the back.”
… Somehow, after last night, I feel like Seimei-san’s ‘-kun’ added to my name sounds a bit sarcastic… I decide to forcefully ignore it.
Hibiki-chan and I head into the sitting room, and there is Seimei in the usual armchair to the side, and on the couch sat Ragnall and Lor.
“You’re late – is what I would say, but I assume the Guild called you in.”
Ragnall addressed me as we walked in.
“Yeah, things seemed tense over there.”
I said, giving Seimei-san a nod as we walked in.
“Yeah. There’s been some grumbling about how the Guild was overstepping their bounds… ma, it’s the same old same old, here in Nyl City. On one hand, there’s safety and security because of the Guild, but on the other, the Guild has a lot of power over everyone’s lives.”
Lor explains the situation.
“Is that how it is…”
From what I understand, it’s not how any of the other Labyrinth Cities are, so it’s just a Nyl City thing, huh?
Neither Lor nor Ragnall seem too worried about it, so I guess things will blow over.
“Hehe, well, they’re going to have to spend quite a bit for reconstruction work if they want to win everyone’s goodwill back, so Dobin’s going to be throwing a fit.”
Ragnall, while I agree with you, you don’t need to be so obviously excited about it.
It’s not like he’s happy, more like he can’t wait to see it happen because it rarely happens.
Maa… I understand.
“That aside, how are you doing, Ragnall?”
“Surprisingly, better than I’ve ever felt before. Apparently I’ll still need the stomach medicine and mana disturber, but it’s so much less than before that I feel like I’ve already been cured.”
“Actually, that’s why I’m here. What. Did you. Do.”
Aaah, Lor’s unamused glare. It feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve seen it.
Laughing nervously, I explained how I, er, um … ‘fixed’(?) Ragnall.
Which had Lor burying his face in his hands by the end of it.
“No documentable process, no clue how or if it’s replicable… Haaa… I guess I’ll just have to imagine that it was Ragnall’s sheer luck this time (and Jun’s usual abnormality). Congratulations. Ragnall only needs to take 1/20 of his previous medication.”
With that, Lor stood up.
… Oi. I heard that part you mumbled in the middle there.
“Thank you for letting me wait here for Jun, Seimei-sama. I’ve finished my business, so…”
Ah, so he was waiting for me here, to hear about what I did to Ragnall’s condition?
He could have waited at the Guild for me … no, Lor was being considerate and didn’t want to make me even later for my job guarding Seimei-san?
Whichever the case, as Lor begins to head out of the room, Seimei-san, who had been sitting pretty still this entire time, moves into action.
“No no, it’s fine. However, forgive me, but what did you say your specialty was?”
“Eh? Mine? Research, mostly. Magic theory and translation magic theory are some of my topics, but my main focus is mana-related illnesses, I guess.”
“Ah, I see. That is why you are well-informed on Ragnall-san’s condition. You are also … compounding the medications yourself?”
Seimei-san, Seimei-san, your eyes are a bit too sharp! Look, Lor’s a little freaked out!
“Er … yes … that is, not from scratch, but adjusting already compounded medicines…”
“I see, I see. You were … Lorenzo, correct? I have a few propositions…”
Lor is kind of petrified…
This is … the eagerness Seimei-san is showing is like a monster that grows arms and hands from its mouth in order to capture and devour its prey.
My condolences, Lor.
Speaking in a kind of low voice, Seimei-san begins to tell Lor about his medical vision.
Is it just a hallucination that Seimei-san is beginning to give me the image of a Godfather-type figure?
“Ahem, um, so I heard you were thinking about leaving the city?”
Ignoring the two over there, Ragnall completely changed the topic.
“Eh, ah, oh. Yeah. I thought about heading to Ploids Labyrinth. Nyl City is a comfortable place to live and all, but… um…”
I want to try to live the free life like an Adventurer in an isekai novel!
Exactly how am I supposed to say something like that?
“But it’s not the life of an Adventurer, right?! I totally understand. Even though I could get my potions from Lor for so much cheaper here, it almost felt like it killed me to stay tethered to this completely calm city.”
Heeeh… I totally didn’t expect that outburst from Ragnall.
“A-ah, well, Ragnall made his name in Ploids, so it’s understandable. It’s one of the more dangerous Labyrinths, once you get well into it. Demons and demi-demons are more likely to cross over in that area, too.”
Lor called over.
“It’s been over 5 years so the Labyrinth should have gone through a purge already… maybe I should head over there and take a look too.”
There was a disturbing term in there…
“Wait, hang on. What?”
“So, how about it? Can I tag along when you leave? Ah, Ms. Elf will probably be going along too, right?”
“Huh? How did we jump to – no, what were you talking about – well, she probably will- … Wait. Hang on. First things first, why tag along with me?”
Is it just me or does Ragnall seem more hyper today for some reason?
My fault? Is it my fault for fixing his mana problem, so now he has too much energy?
“It seems like interesting things happen around you. And if I run out of medicine, you’d be handy to have around.”
… You. Saying such things without any hesitation.
But … that’s true. If he’s familiar with the area, Ragnall might be handy to have around for when we reach the Labyrinth City.
“I don’t really care either way –“
“It might be more reassuring if there was a man with us.”
Hibiki-chan tugged on my sleeve and said that in kind of a low voice.
A myriad of conflicting emotions are fighting inside me, but, maa, I swallow them for a bit.
“I’m not against him joining us, but what do you mean?”
“No, well… even if you’re strong, if you’re a woman alone, troublesome things will happen more often than if you were with a man. That is… troublesome people, I mean…”
As Hibiki-chan says that, I vaguely remember Niera saying something similar.
Nn… a natural girl is more aware of the nuances, huh?
Yosh, Hibiki-chan is in charge of the decisions!
Although I want to say that, I keep that thought to myself.
“I get it. Even though we could potentially deal with anything that comes our way by ourselves, it’s not too bad to use Ragnall like mosquito repellent.”
I am only a little bitter that I am not recognized as a man. I mean, I’m not a man…
… And there’s no other time like this time of month to hammer that point home.
I feel a little like crying.
There are four more days until our commission to guard Seimei-san is complete, and even after that there are still other things that we all need to take care of.
Lor has effectively been kidnapped – I mean scouted by Seimei-san, and now he’s interested in putting down a medical laboratory.
I think I’ll help fund the lab, because if there really is no way back from this world, healthcare is going to be an increasing concern.
I hope they work on painkillers first.
Although circulating light magic through my body reduces the fatigue and anemia, pain doesn’t seem to be affected at all.
Should that be a relief or not? I don’t know.
Ragnall can’t leave until Lor finishes the next batch of his ‘stomach medicine’, although I think it should be okay, since Seimei-san could always send me refills through Friend Chat, but … un. It’s better not to discuss such things.
Through Lor, Hibiki-chan is going to be introduced to Niera and the rest of the Valor of Arms Brigade on short expeditions outside of the city so she can get used to her abilities in this world.
Come to think of it, LeeAnne invited me to go with her one day. I wonder if I should cash in on that offer…
As for me?
Late at night, the forges in the Guild Hall have been emitting flashes similar to the light from a small star – if you were staring at it right in front of you.
There are many things to do before I can afford to leave the city!
In the darkest hour of the night, a shadow stole softly in the underground of the wreckage of the old winery.
It paused only once, at a spot on the main floor where there was a stain of blood.
Then, noiselessly, without disrupting even the loose rubble, it slipped deep into the basement.
It had waited this entire time, until the Guild had finished salvaging the slaves that had remained alive, and ended their investigations for the day.
Here, far away from prying eyes, it swiftly moved the rubble out of the way with a whisper of “Quaemoventurinterraspiritusquodegopræcipio: Upheaval”.
With a few more uses of that spell, the shadow had tunneled deep into the rubble.
Finally the shadow, a man dressed all in black, called out softly.
“Dankor. Dankor, alive?”
A shuffling of rubble sounds in the (mostly) still standing tunnel.
“… Tesra…? Ah, I hurt all over, but I’m still alive.”
The eye-patch ikemen, that is, Dankor, shuffled out of the dark.
When the building had collapsed, just the tremors alone were enough to snap Jun’s blades and dispel the immobilizing effect.
Thanks to that, Dankor was able to hide away in the dried up water vein, waiting until the ruckus died down.
“No, stay there, Dankor. Dankor… this is goodbye.”
Dankor frowned, knitting his eyebrows together and hesitating to move closer.
Tesra, the shadow, clenched his fist tightly.
“Urol … is dead.”
A heavy gasp of shock – Dankor thought he had heard wrong.
Urol was, he was… stronger than a wyvern, hardier and move experienced than even a hero candidate, he was someone Dankor thought would wrestle Death to the ground when Death came for him.
“Urol tried to leave group. Granwit killed him. A cowardly strike from the back.”
Tesra’s usual, terse statements were tinged with a hint of agitation.
“… This can’t be…”
Dankor couldn’t wrap his head around what Tesra was saying.
“Urol said you dead. Ragnall’s girl killed you. Norman said was probably true. You’re dead. Stay hidden. We leave town in a few days. Returning to base. To make new plans. Ragnall… might help you. But, maybe he will be watched.”
Tesra started to slink away after he said his bit, but Dankor stopped him.
“Wait! Tesra, what about you?”
Without turning back around to face him, Tesra stood there in silence for a few minutes.
“Impossible to try to leave. Maybe I see Urol soon.”
“Don’t want to die, so won’t do anything stupid. Maybe there will be chance. Maybe there won’t be. I don’t know.”
With that, Tesra disappeared as silently as he came, and Dankor heard the shift of rubble as Tesra returned everything to how it had appeared before he had come.
In the darkest hour of the night, a shadow slipped away from the ruins of the old winery, leaving everything as if it had never been there.
<a/n: Thank you for 3seed, mirminitis, and Raist for your donations!
Will fix links later.>