Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Fortune Smiles Upon Them
Three hours had passed since they explored the forest. With her newly revamped spells, Lavia ripped large monsters to shreds, while Hikaru collected the trophies, i.e. the proof of kill, from the creatures.
Hikaru’s Mana Detection was extremely useful. He could now sense monsters on top of trees. Both of them gathered other materials as well. Reading the botanical picture book seemed to bear fruit as Lavia found plants in places that Hikaru failed to notice.
After gathering about the same amount as yesterday, they left the forest.
「I might get to rank E now.」
Hikaru was pleased. He’d spent quite a lot in buying equipment and paying for the information he got from Kelbeck, but he was sure he’d make bank from yesterday’s and today’s loots. Their Soul Ranks had gone up as well; one for Hikaru and two for Lavia.
How should I spend the one point… Detection Expansion was quite useful. Maybe I should put one more point on that? But expanding its range more than a hundred meters sounds pretty useless. I should just save it for now…
They were waiting for a horse by the side of the lake when a caravan of three wagons passed by. Maybe they’ll give us a ride, Hikaru thought as he activated his Mana Detection for no particular reason.
On the third wagon was a cluster of mana even though no one was supposed to be there. A Stealth-type skill. Back when Hikaru rescued Lavia, they hitched a ride on the back of a wagon. This person was doing that as well.
「Lavia, hide yourself and wait here.」
Hikaru got up and made his way to the caravan. Jogging, as if hot on a person’s heels, he talked to the man leading the wagons. Guards – two of them – ignored him, thinking he was only a kid.
「Mr. Merchant! Can you give me a ride to Pond?」
「I can, but it’ll cost you. 150 gilans.」
「What?! A fast horse only costs a hundred! Make it 80!」
「120 gilans. Take it or leave it.」
「Ugh, fine, never mind.」
「I’m sorry, but I don’t run a charity here. You can run all the way back to Pond, you know.」
With a grin, the merchant spurred his horse onward. Hikaru watched the caravan go. It required much effort to stop himself from looking at the cluster of mana at the back. The moment the third wagon passed by him, Hikaru summoned the mystery person’s Soul Board.
Age: 18 Rank: 39
Hikaru almost yelled out loud. The cluster of mana – Sarah – seemed to be looking at him, but he quickly turned his back around as soon as he saw her stats.
It’s Sarah of the Four Stars of the East. I’m glad I trusted my intuition. Her points on Stealth was less than I expected. Unken is way more skilled than her. She had Detection, though. But with only one point on it, the cloak Dodorono is making should serve us just fine.
A thought suddenly crossed his mind. What was she doing here? The caravan came from the direction of the royal capital.
Was she searching for the guy who stopped the carriage?
A chill went down his spine. Hikaru had asked Kelbeck for someone to stop the carriage during Lavia’s rescue. The location was in the direction where the caravan came from.
Those women think there’s something suspicious about the man who stopped the carriage. They’re considering the possibility that Lavia escaped while the adventurers were distracted. Kelbeck said it’s fine, but I’m not so sure now.
The worst-case scenario was they identify the guy, i.e. the merchant. Kelbeck’s name would then come up if they interrogated the man. Kelbeck said he wouldn’t sell out his clients, but they could find Hikaru’s name if they looked into his connections. After all, Gloria sent him once to Kelbeck for a delivery.
I got to know what Sarah’s up to by chance this time. Looks like Lady Luck is on my side. We should really leave this kingdom as soon as possible. Anyway, we’ll enter the dungeon after I get promoted to rank E, then take some requests in Root Hubbard before moving to a town near the border. After that, we head straight out of the kingdom.
Jill’s face suddenly popped in his mind. A receptionist who had an awful personality on the surface, but would push herself to get close to someone she could trust. A bit of a handful.
She’ll probably resent me if I don’t at least see her.
「Hikaru? I thought for sure you were getting on that caravan.」
Hikaru sat down beside Lavia.
「Let’s wait for a horse. Someone hitched a ride before us.」
The ranked B adventurer, Sarah.
Even a ranked B adventurer only has that much on Stealth…
Hikaru unknowingly poured a lot of points on his Stealth.
Did I go overboard with mine?
They hailed a fast horse afterward and made it to the Adventurers Guild around the same time as yesterday.
Gloria was at the counter.
「I’d like to request an assessment.」
「Before that, about the goods you brought yesterday… Congratulations! They were deemed to have been obtained in a legitimate manner.」
「You don’t sound happy.」
「I know I didn’t do anything wrong, so…」
「I suppose. So, another delivery today? Do you want get paid the whole amount?」
Eyes wide open while looking at the stuff Hikaru brought, Gloria, having experienced this before, pulled herself back together and started working on the assessment. The adventurers present were abuzz, but Hikaru didn’t care. He wouldn’t see them again anyway.
「There’s a lot. The materials you gathered are in good condition as well.」
「You won’t get pretty Vampire Flowers like this unless you found a place where they grow en masse that nobody knows about. Generally, bees will swarm on the flowers the moment a human approaches and destroy them.」
Well I did get close with my Stealth on, Hikaru thought. He didn’t say it out loud, of course.
「How much for all of these?」
「Twenty-two monsters killed and thirty-one materials delivered yesterday. Today you killed seventeen monsters and delivered forty-four materials. All in all, that’s 167,200 gilans.」
「So even you get flustered, Hikaru-sama.」
「I’m not flustered.」
Hikaru cleared his throat.
「I want 57,200 gilans in cash, and 110,000 deposited.」
「Okay. You now have exactly 200,000 gilans in deposit.」
「So… do I get promoted?」
Gloria was silent, making Hikaru lose his cool. Did I miss something? What is it?
「As of today, you’re a rank E adventurer, Hikaru-sama. Congratulations!」
Hikaru let out a deep sigh. Don’t scare me like that, sheesh.
「There’s a whole Red-horned Rabbit here, Hikaru-sama.」
「Yeah. Can I borrow the dissection area? I just found one by chance. I want to take its internal organs.」
「Of course. You may head to the back.」
Hikaru thought there was something strange about how Gloria was acting. She would usually have a lot more to say, but this time she seemed unconcerned. And that silence a while ago… What was that about?
No point in racking my brain over it. We’re leaving Pond tomorrow anyway.
Hikaru called Lavia over, and they both headed to the dissection room.
The bear-like manager of Pasta Magic came running out of the kitchen as soon as he heard Hikaru was around.
「Innards! Tell me you have fresh innards with blood still dripping from them!」
「You’ll get in trouble if you say that out loud, considering your looks.」
The manager gasped in amazement when Hikaru handed the goods over to him, and he headed back to the kitchen. The rare ingredient must have lit up a fire in him.
「Oh, Hikaru! All the tables are taken, so you’ll have to take your seats over at the counter.」
Hikaru didn’t even say anything about eating in the restaurant. Together with Lavia, they sat at the counter. He thought about ordering juice, but the manager offered them non-alcoholic cocktails instead. For a toast, apparently.
「We might as well drink this.」
「Yes. To your promotion to rank E. Cheers!」Lavia said as they clinked their glasses.
Their glass wasn’t actually the exquisite kind, barely transparent and shaped like a mug. Still the pink liquid left a refreshing aroma as it went down the throat.
「Are we really leaving tomorrow? You have plenty of acquaintances here.」
Lavia was probably feeling guilty, thinking they had to leave because of her.
「I guess. But my goal from the start was to go around the world. I might wind up here again in the future.」
「I… I see. You’re right.」
Having finished his drink, Hikaru ordered tea. Then…
The shop’s door opened and Jill stood there.
「I’m here too!」
Gloria was behind Jill, waving her hand. The former must’ve guessed where he was going and told Jill about it.
That silence… I knew she was up to something.
Hikaru heaved a mental sigh. Jill came up in front of him.
「Hikaru-kun, are you leaving Pond?」she asked, getting straight to the point.