「I must return to the temple quickly … !」
In the southern suburbs of Darl, a trainee priestess from Darl Branch Hall of Igreos temple was running down a street a little away from the main street. Igreos temple was a temple which celebrated the god of fire, Igreos. Anyway, although she was running down the back street, there wasn’t much difference in the landscape. Just the same old shops built along on either side of the street. The only difference is that it wasn’t as crowded as the main street. However, there were more people on that street compared to some fields in a small village. It wasn’t an area with a bad reputation either. You won’t be risking your life just because you decided to recklessly walk down that street. On top of that, the time was just past midday. So, even if a girl in her late teens or early twenties ran down the street, it was very unlikely for her to come across a life-or-death situation. After all, the crime rate in Darl was very low.
That is if you’re not the unluckiest person in the world. Even if you lived in a well-off area, the chance of not getting mixed up in crime is never zero. Problems just happen and the life-or-death situation just pops out of nowhere; no matter how safe you think you are. And this time around, this girl was the unluckiest person in Darl.
She was used to walking down this street for errands and personal shopping. So, she had her guards down when she was walking back to the temple. She wasn’t slacking off, but on this day, she was running late as there were more errands and donations than usual. She won’t be scolded since she has a valid reason. But it did not change the fact that she was running late. So, you can’t blame her for being slightly more careless than she usually was.
With all these factors combined…
She did not notice the sudden change in the ground.
She shrieked in pain as something caught her leg. Thanks to the priestess outfit where the majority of the limbs were covered, there were no significant injuries. However, it did not change the fact that it was painful. One lucky thing was that the things which she was carrying did not scatter around too much.
「What did I trip over on…. ?」
Until the pain eases, she decided to check the object which she has tripped over. The moment she saw the likely object, her face twisted up.
A hand made of stone was growing out from the ground in the direction which she was looking. No matter how careless she was, there was no way she could have overlooked such an object. Also, other people would notice such an out-of-place object. So, the most likely conclusion is that this hand has suddenly grown out from the ground.
「Why, why is that thing there? ….」
She felt her blood go cold. Her twisted expression still plastered on her face. She tried to stand up but…
Something quickly grabbed all four of her limbs as she tried to stand up. It dragged her down with such force that the girl lost her balance. She was back on the ground again.
「Huh? What’s happening?」
She looked around desperately. Hoping to find some answer. There was definitely something odd about the situation which she was in.
「Wha, where’s everyone?」
The street was suddenly empty. But there was nothing different in the scenery which surrounded the girl. A shopping district with a stone building lined up on both sides of the street. But the street was completely lifeless.
「Someone! Someone please, help me!!」
The girl cried out desperately. She tried to pull herself free from the stone hands with all her strength. But the stone hands were too strong. Her arms did not even flinch. The hopeless cry continued to echo down the barren street. Then…
The girl has given up on the fight. But then, numerous hands started to creep up on her. It left her no other choice but to start fighting back again. But she knew that her effort was hopeless.Yet she could not imagine anything good coming out of this situation either. The stone hands started to lift her up higher and higher. As if to make fun of her efforts.
Next morning, the girl was discovered a couple of streets away in a very disturbing fashion. Other priestesses who were worried that the girl had not come back the previous day had found her while looking around.
「Did you hear? A girl who was a trainee priestess had a very strange death.」
「Whatta diturbin’ news.」
Hiroshi’s group heard the news two days after the incident. To be precise, Haruna heard the rumour as she went around the town performing on the street.
「To think that someone would lay their hands on a person related to the temple. What a dare devil.」
「Welp, they mightn’ been fouled parson.」
The incident was indeed very odd. Tatsuya and Hiroshi could not do anything but make a comment with a difficult expression. In this universe, the temple was a highly respected organisation with very little control over the country’s decision. Unless their idea was directly related to the country’s major issues, it will be rejected even if they used people’s respect. Within the temple, there was some level of rivalry going on. However, any dismal behaviour will drop the priest or priestess’s reputation immediately. So, there was rarely any harm caused by the employees at the temple. Also, some of the instructions were directly given out by the god. So, it wasn’t something which could be solved with money or negotiation. Popularity was one of the reasons why Aearis did not have much power even after she was promoted to be a priestess princess.
Not only is the temple strict when it comes to vile activities but, they also exorcise the land and maintain the barriers which keep the monsters out. They have taken part in protecting the country with no funding from the government. So, an average citizen would not even think about causing any harm to such an organisation. However, authorities working at the temple aren’t perfect either. They occasionally run into problems during their private time and the temple itself behead criminals. So, there were people out there who despised the organization. Yet the hate wasn’t to the point where someone would cause an abhorrent death on one of the authorities. Not even the criminals would benefit from the temple being disbanded. The only people who wouldn’t mind would be those who are not part of civilization.
Not only that, a criminal who has caused a loathsome death on a trainee would be given severe punishment. Tatsuya’s comment was pointing out at such a point as well.
「So, what are we going to do?」
「Haru-nee, what do you mean by what are we going to do?」
「Well, aren’t we supposed to be working with the temple?」
「With a case like this, I wouldn’t be approchn’ em directly.」
「Well that’s a no brainer.」
Since the temple is involved in the incident, it was hard to say that Hiroshi’s group was completely uninvolved. However, nobody would willingly risk their life, especially for a complete stranger. Also, the temple would have their own groups and pride as well. It was hard to believe that they would trust some random group of adventurers who they have never met before; unless they were directly involved in the matter.
「So, what are we going to do today?」
「Well, we’re aiming to act more like adventurers so I’m thinking of taking miscellaneous jobs to get a better idea of the geography.」
「Well Tatsuya and I are going for more combat-based missions so we can get used to our weapons.」
「Then I’ll join in with you guys.」
「Welp, Imma off to a harvest type mission.」
「Hold up, if I were you I wouldn’t be wandering around the town by myself. Hiro, how about you take on a job with Haruna?」
「Ya ‘ight. I’ll do that.」
The plan for the day was decided almost instantaneously. Tatsuya and Makoto were worried about paring Hiroshi and Haruna as they thought they would get mixed into some trouble. However, the two betrayed their expectations and everyone managed to complete their job for that day without any incidents.
「What request should we take today?」
「How about this one?」
「Helpin’ repaint the roofs. Yea, that seem like a good one.」
The house which the repainting was requested was a holiday cottage owned by one of the nobilities. They were looking for recruitments immediately as they were short in hands after two of their employees had injured themselves. For a job which involved an elevated area, they did not offer much for the reward. However, they were trying to recruit as many people as they could. Which meant that the client didn’t have any idea on how many people would accept the job. So, nobody could blame the client for cutting down on the reward price.
Roof painting requires a decent amount of experience so they won’t be asking the freelancing adventurer’s to do it. Instead, the client was asking for someone who could help with carrying up the materials, washing up the equipment and so on. After a couple of employees got injured, there was hardly any time for the other employees to do miscellaneous jobs. The poster stated that there were overloading with unfinished work that even if a large group of people accepted this job, there would be no time for anyone to slack off.
As the Adventurer’s Association held a reputation of providing service to the society, they would occasionally send newbie adventurers to these short-term jobs. The reward was better than rubbish picking and grazing but it was much safer than the jobs outside the city. So, as expected, there were some noob adventurers sent off to do this job.
「By the way, what job are ya gonna do brother?」
「We’re going off to hunt down the stone ants. We thought we’ll take on something a little more challenging than yesterday’s job.」
「Does that help with Makoto-san getting used to her weapons?」
「Today’s job would be a good practice for range combat so it’s perfect.」
「There are quite a few of them around so the job wouldn’t be so easy that we’ll finish it in a blink of an eye.」
Agreeing with Tatsuya and Makoto’s comment, they headed towards the reception to get approval. As usual, Mio has stuck with Hiroshi and Haruna while Tatsuya and Makoto have formed a pair.
Stone Ants as its name suggests has an outer shell which resembles stone. Just like any other ants, they are omnivores, but they will attack anything from people to dragons. Their average size is around 50 to 70 centimetres, yet they can grow up to a meter tall. Their lifespan is similar to an average ant which is around 14 years. Due to its tough outer shell, speed-based or ordinary weapons like knives, rapier and saber are useless against them. So usually, the quest is recommended for a 5-member party that maintains a good skill balance or an adventurer above class 7 who specialise in fire-related abilities.
So, this quest was perfect for Tatsuya and Makoto to familiarise themselves with their new weapons and level up their ranks. The job was requesting adventurers to take down the slightly large swarm of Stone Ants which were frequently seen around supply route to Sweltering Tower. So, sooner or later, there should be a quest asking to eliminate the nest of Stone Ants. However, even if Makoto’s level was four times Hiroshi’s, it would be difficult to take on that type of job just with Tatsuya.
「Take care of yaselves.」
「Yeah we know, we have transportation stone so we won’t do anything reckless.」
Waving lightly back at Hiroshi, the two walked down the main street in the direction of the desert. After looking at their friends walking down the street, Hiroshi and others started to make their way to the luxurious mansion to help the painters.
「As expected, there are a lot of nice houses around here.」
「Tis like art made of stone stackin’.」
「Sensei, could you make something like that?」
「Welp, class-wise, I need to be t’ least intermediate. But we shouldn’t have any problem reachin’ intermediate if we keep up the pace.」
Mio showed a disappointed expression at Hiroshi’s reply. Not because he wasn’t in the intermediate class yet but because he was still lacking in some crafting skill.
「I don’t think I could make these level of houses either.」
「Welp Haruna-san’s expertise is differen’ from mine. 」
「Well, that too but if I said I wanted to live in a house like that, you would build it, right?」
「Sure ‘nough I have the skill for it. If ya help me with gettin’ and makin’ all the materials than I would build it.」
To Hiroshi’s confident response, Haruna thought to herself ‘as expected’. To be honest, as long as it wasn’t chores like sewing up underwear, any craft-related jobs can be left with Hiroshi. As a matter of fact, Hiroshi, who enjoys crafting items, sees such a treatment as a reward. However, easy items like class 6 potions do not seem to inspire him. Yet he will still happily make items for other people.
「Anywayz, we’re takin’ a job at a nobility’s house. The man in charge must be very skilled. I think we can learn a lot so ya two, make sure to observe their work.」
The two nodded to Hiroshi’s advice. When it came to craftsmanship, Mio wasn’t as skilled as Hiroshi, but she was as passionate as he was. On the other hand, Haruna who had a minimum interest in craftsmanship didn’t see the big deal in observing and learning others’ skills.
「Sensei too, don’t get ahead of yourself and show off skills more advanced than the manager.」
「I’ll try but can’t promise ya anythin’.」
Hiroshi gave an uncertain response to Mio’s warning. He has no intention of interfering with the project or judging someone’s individual method of crafting. However, when he spots something which will lead to some issue in the long-term, he couldn’t help it but to do something about it.
「Hiroshi-kun, seriously, trying isn’t good enough.」
Haruna commented with concern but that still wasn’t enough to convince Hiroshi. He has already gotten into trouble a couple of times just because he couldn’t overlook certain details. When that happens, the girls could do nothing but watch.
Thanks for the new chapter!
Thanks for the chapter. I though they were working on their place, not on another construction project.
Given that they ate lunch at the end of the last chapter and are eating lunch again at the start of this one I think it’s a different day, but it does feel like there’s a missing chapter or something. Maybe a missing paragraph or two.
Thank you for pointing that out. I actually seriously botched the two most recent chapters and will make a post about it so no one gets confused.