I Will Save You – Part 09
While he killed plenty of monsters, Hikaru, not wanting to draw any unnecessary attention, did not bring any raw materials back.
He wasn’t in dire need of money anyway. His priority was to keep a low profile… or at least that was the plan.
As he passed through the gate, he was told by the guard to go to the Adventurers’ Guild, where he was met by Paula.
It was already dark and past the guild’s closing time, but Freya was still behind the counter. As soon as she saw Hikaru, her face lit up, before quickly turning into a frown as Paula rushed toward him.
“What is it?”
Hikaru tried to sound cold, but Paula didn’t seem to mind.
“Welcome back. I wanted to see you so I waited here.”
“I don’t think you can keep the guild open this late. What’s going on?”
“I’m glad you’re quick on the uptake.” Pia said, astounded by Paula’s behavior. “We actually need your testimony as well.”
“Testimony? About what those adventurers did?”
“Not that. They already got those from us. Apparently, they’d have to hear their side of the story first before making a judgment.”
“I see… so it’s about the Goblins, then?”
“The guild wants to know more about them,” Freya cut in. “You’ll cooperate, right?”
“Y-Yeah… Sure. So what’s this all about?”
Freya was holding his arms tight. “After what we did yesterday… you’re already hitting on a different girl.”
“A-Anyway! I think I have a right to talk to you.”
Freya was heading outside. She seemed angry, but Hikaru had a feeling that she was having the wrong idea about Paula and her friends.
“I know a place that serves good pasta.”
“Hold on a sec. You’re not asking me to treat you again, are you?”
“Wh-What’s going on here?! You’re sponging off Lord Hikaru?!” Paula interjected.
With Lavia being transported tomorrow, Hikaru had no time to be having dinner with Freya. Then a thought came to him. A dinner—conversation, rather—with her might prove crucial for tomorrow’s plan.
“Okay, then. I wanted to ask you something anyway,” Hikaru said. “Is it all right to leave the guild open?”
“Sir Unken is still inside. I told you before about the submaster and a receptionist being out on a business trip to the capital, right? They’re coming back tonight, and he’s waiting for them.”
“I see… So are those three coming with us?”
Paula, Pia, and Priscilla followed the two of them outside.
“D-Don’t look at me,” Freya said. “They look like they’re going to follow us no matter what.”
“I’m not paying for their food,” Hikaru added.
“I’m sure they can pay for their own.”
“I don’t know about that.”
They looked like they didn’t have much money. The kind of place that Freya went to, where they served pies for over a hundred gilans each, would be too expensive for the girls.
Freya brought Hikaru to an alley two streets behind the main street—a place where no one would go to unless they had a reason to. Tucked in between a row of houses was Pasta Magic, a pasta-centric restaurant.
Nice naming sense…
They opened the door. As the outside appearance suggested, the inside was small, with only two box seats and a counter.
“Hey there, Freya.”
The manager, short and stout like a bear, waved at Freya. He was at the back cooking.
They were shown to a box seat, but since it could only seat four people, an extra chair was added for the spaced-out Priscilla. Her breasts jiggled as she sat down, and it was all Hikaru could do to stop himself from staring.
Freya sat beside Hikaru while Paula sat across from him. Pia took the last empty seat, her hands trembling as she held the menu.
“Expensive! Too expensive! We can’t pay for this!”
· Stewed Beef and Red Spring Grass Pasta — 210 gilans
· Seafood Oil Pasta — 160 gilans
· New Item: Red-Horned Rabbit Green Sauce Pasta — 590 gilans
The selection was pricey, especially the Red-Horned Rabbit pasta.
I didn’t know those rabbits were luxury food, Hikaru thought.
“This boy right here is Hikaru,” Freya told the manager, who personally came to take their order.
“Ohh… he really is short.”
“I’m sure everyone’s shorter compared to you,” Hikaru muttered under his breath as he studied the manager, who was almost two meters tall. It’s not that I’m short. No, definitely not.
“I see, I see. You’re a lifesaver. There hasn’t been any stock on Red-Horned Rabbits lately. A sudden increase in price is one thing, but there’s nothing we can do when we can’t even order them. Then out of nowhere, I receive word that there’s some stock now. Today as well. I asked around what was going on and apparently a beginner adventurer hunted the rabbits. I asked Freya to bring you here so I could let you eat to your heart’s content.”
Freya brought him here for that reason.
“I see. I was wondering who purchased them as well.”
“How about you sell them to me directly? I’ll pay you good money for them.”
“Y-You can’t do that!” Freya protested. “The guild will get it from the meat wholesalers!”
Foodstuffs purchased by the Adventurers’ Guild from adventurers had to be sold to trading firms first.
The man laughed. “I’m just kidding. Hey, kid. I’m actually curious about the Red-Horned Rabbit’s innards. It’s fine, right, Freya?” His spirit as a professional chef made his eyes gleam. “You just dispose of them, right? Please take those with you next time. I want to make dishes out of them. They’re not distributed in the market anyway, so I can buy them directly. How about it, kid?”
“Are you seriously addressing a business partner as ‘kid’?” Hikaru shot the man a glare.
The manager’s face turned serious as well. “Good point. Sorry, Hikaru. I like you. Eat all you want tonight. It’s on the house! In exchange, please consider my proposal. Oh, and Freya. When I say, ‘on the house’, it doesn’t include booze. You have to pay for those.”
Freya’s face lit up as soon as she heard that food was on the house—though it seemed she was already expecting it—but she was quickly disappointed to learn that it didn’t include drinks.
Hikaru gave Freya a sidelong glance.
“I-I don’t drink much. Only a little bit…”
“Why are you looking at me so coldly?!”
How much does she usually drink? Hikaru wondered, appalled. He was certainly surprised.
The other girls just sat there vacantly.
“You heard him,” Hikaru said. “Food is on the house. But pay for your drinks, okay?”
“Your eyes are too bright, Pia. Hikaru’s shocked.”
“You’re drooling like crazy, Priscilla!”
Pia and Priscilla were overjoyed from the sudden blessing of free food. Paula, however, looked apologetic.
“I’m sorry it turned out this way, Lord Hikaru.”
“It’s fine. I wasn’t even aware of this. Also, please drop the ‘Lord’. I’m probably younger than you anyway.”
“I-Is that so? If that’s what you want, Master.”
“Why’d you make it worse?!”
“I-I’m your… s-slave at night!”
“Don’t force yourself if you can’t even say it with a straight face.”
And so they started on their food.
“So Hikaru, how’d you drive the Goblins away?”
Pia and Priscilla silently dug in as soon as food was served. The former spoke crudely, but she had good table manners when eating.
All the pastas were great. It was Hikaru’s first pasta in this world—besides the fried noodles—and he thought it was delicious. The oil and spices provided some punch, but there was something missing.
Oh, there’s no garlic, Hikaru thought.
“Old man Unken told me that there might be Goblins in the area,” Hikaru said.
“I’m asking you how you got rid of them.”
“Because he’s Lord Hikaru,” Paula said with a smile.
“You keep your mouth shut,” Freya said. “We won’t get anywhere.”
“Apparently, Goblins that group up are called Goblin Families,” Hikaru went on. “For a disciplined one, there’s usually a chain of command, with the Boss on top.”
“That’s correct. I’m surprised you know. Did Sir Unken tell you that too?”
“No, I read about it from a field guide in the library.”
“A field guide… That old and bulky book? I’m impressed you actually read that.”
“Of course I would. The information you have can sometimes make the difference between life and death.”
Freya went quiet. A thought crossed her mind. She always thought Hikaru was simply lucky, but that might not be the case. The boy did not have any special abilities—that she was aware of—but he made use of his knowledge when doing his job as an adventurer.
She actually took Paula and her friends’ story about the Goblins with a grain of salt. After all, adventurers tended to exaggerate things. But they might be telling the truth this time, and there were actually more than a hundred Goblins.
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