And so, we exited through the South Gate after showing the guard stationed at it our adventurer identification cards. Interestingly, the guard seemed to know the party I was with.
“Ah, come to think of it, we haven’t introduced ourselves, have we?”
Their leader Garn said as we were travelling on the path that would lead to our destination.
I already know all of their names though.
“I am Garn, a Warrior and the leader of this party. The elf is Irene, our Scout, and this little girl-” He patted Aulia’s head. “Is Aulia, our magician. Together, we form the party ‘Wanderers’.”
“Is there any special meaning behind the party name?”
“I see. Anyway, I’m Samael, and this is my partner Mary. Up until yesterday we were travellers from a distant country, but now we are adventurers. We’ll be in your care for today.”
“You sure are polite. Where are you from?”
“From a place called Gundia, across the raging seas in the west.”
I actually wanted to say that I was from Earth, but since it would be troublesome if they knew that the Heroes were also from Earth, I decided against it.
“The seas in the west, eh?” His eyes glinted in admiration. “I’ve always wanted to go to that place. Say, what is that place like? Are all the rumours that I’ve heard true?”
This has turned into a difficult situation.
“What rumours are you talking about?”
“Like, that is the place where Dragon King lives. Or that that was the place where the founder of the Adventurer’s Guild came from. And that place contains the passage to Heaven. Such kinds of rumours.”
A passage to Heaven? Oof.
“The only thing I’m sure about is that Gundia has no method to take you to Heaven.”
Not even death can take you there after all.
“I see.” He sounded a little bit disappointed. “Anyway, why did you guys come here? Are you looking for something?”
“We are just travelling.”
Not like I could actually tell them my real reasons.
The conversation came to a stop with that. The fact that both Phiria and Aulia weren’t too interested in talking didn’t really help either.
“Ah, we have to go through here now.”
Just then, Irene, the elf scout, said that while pointing at a forest trail leading deep inside it.
“Ah, by the way, what is this quest about?”
“It is a monster subjugation quest.”
“What kind of monsters exactly? Please give me some more details.”
“Ah, right. We are going to eliminate a goblin nest. The nest is located in a cave. The nest was discovered only recently, and judging by the number of cases of abducted women and livestock, it’s a relatively small nest, maybe of around 20 to 30 goblins.”
See? That’s what I wanted to know. Anyway, a nest of 20-30 goblins, eh? This fact makes it even more confusing.
“Then, don’t you think we are overqualified for this quest? Two Sapphire rank adventurers and one Emerald ranked one. You’d be able to kill those goblins in a jiffy.”
“Of course we would haha! That’s why we were entrusted with the work of showing you how it’s done.”
“Then why were you guys so hung up on this quest, even going as far as to guide a bunch of rookies?”
His eyes narrowed a bit, while Aulia flinched.
“You’re sharp, aren’t you?”
“Of course, you’re welcome to keep silent about it. However, in the case that it’s something at which you must not fail, I think it would be better to share it with us so that we can work together.”
Hiding things causes mistrust to build up between comrades, which can be ultimately fatal in a critical situation.
Garn kept silent for a bit and turned to Irene, who nodded in return.
“All right, I’ll tell you guys. This is a search and rescue mission.”
“Who are you going to rescue?”
“Our friends from a different party. They had undertaken this quest a week ago, and we have yet to hear anything from them. No one knows where they are or what happened to them, so we are going to check for ourselves.”
“Were those guys weak?”
“Not by a long shot; all of them were at the Sapphire rank.”
“Then isn’t it possible that they went to some other city after completing the quest?”
“Not possible. Adventurers are required to report back to the guild after completing a quest.”
“Which only means that they ran into some trouble during that quest.”
But the real question is, can a group of mere 20 goblins pose any problem to a party of Sapphire ranked adventurers? The answer to that question can give me a general idea of the strength of the people of this world.
“That’s why we are going there to investigate and rescue them. There’s no way in hell they would lose to mere goblins, so there’s got to be something there.”
He said as he grinded his teeth in frustration.
“I see. Well, we’ll try to help you with the best of our abilities.”
Well, to be more honest, not with the best, but we’ll do at least enough to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
“Thank you.” Then he smirked. “Though I don’t know how much help you’ll actually be of.”
“Hmm? Why so?”
“The girl is a healer, while you seem weak for a swordsman. But don’t worry, we’ll also protect you haha.”
For an effort to raise the spirits after that serious talk, that was awfully pathetic, further proved by the troubled smile on Irene’s face. But I seem weak?
But given by how a slight smile had arisen on Aulia’s face, maybe his effort wasn’t that pathetic.
And so, while keeping a watch on our surroundings, we made our way towards the cave where the goblin nest was supposed to be. Even though the sun was high up in the sky, the dense canopy of the forest didn’t allow much of the sunlight to make its way inside. Because of that, the atmosphere was pretty cool, thus making it really comfortable for me.
And there it was, the perfect spot for taking a nap. Under a tree where a little bit of sunlight reached, the grass seemed to be really cosy. The shape of roots was just perfect for it to be a pillow, while the wind was also really pleasant.
As I remembered the position of that place to come back to it later sometime, we went even deeper into the forest. However, we had yet to encounter any monster. No, except for small rodents and birds, we had yet to encounter any animal.
Was it because the monsters and animals had been exterminated as this forest was close to the capital city, or was there some other reason for it?
Finally, we reached our destination; the cave where the goblins were living. From the outside, it seemed to be a fairly normal cave.
Well, not exactly normal, since there were some bones piled up on one side of the entrance. From the structure of those bones, they most probably belonged to cattle.
“From this point onwards is the goblin’s territory, so be on your guard.” Garn warned us, and we nodded in return. “Let’s go inside then.”
The cave was small; roughly 3-4 metres in diameter. This place was clearly a disadvantage for people who used swords as their weapon, or who had a large build. And since the place was dark, we were forced to use torches.
With the sounds of water dripping somewhere and our footsteps, we continued to make our way inside. At the front of the group were me and Garn with the latter holding the torch, followed by Phiria and Aulia. The vanguard was being handled by Irene, which was strange since she was supposed to be our Scout.
Or was she relying on senses other than her eyesight to scout our way? Well, she was the archer, so it also made sense for her to be at the back. She was also making sure that there were no hidden paths inside this cave so that we would not be ambushed.
Irene whispered to stop us, and we complied. As her ears twitched, she said.
“There’s something there, probably a goblin. I’ll go ahead and check it out.”
Garn nodded in response, and Irene went ahead of us- without making any kind of sound- while we waited. After some time, she came back and whispered again.
“Just a single goblin acting as a lookout.”
“Understood. Let’s go.”
We walked inside while trying to make as less sound as possible. As the path curved to make a blind spot, we hid behind a boulder after being beckoned by Irene to do so. I peeked from behind it, and there it was, the first monster of this world.