|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3990 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1858 words|
My name is Karin. I’m an Adventurer that ran away from home a few years ago, and after wandering everywhere, I finally found a town to settle in. The word Adventurer might have a nice ring to it, but it consists mostly of handiwork. I had it tough when I first started.
Since I had no reputation, the Guild didn’t trust me with jobs that required a sword, but instead, they gave me ones that anyone could do yet no one wanted to, such as keeping kids company, taking dogs on a walk, helping people with moving residence, tending to stores and such.
Like that, I slowly gained the Guild’s trust and recently they finally let me take on combat-related jobs.
I had no one to teach me, but since physical activity was my strong point, I learned how to use the sword just by observing how others fought. After that, everything progressed smoothly. I could crush slimes and goblins by myself, and didn’t lose even against Orcs that boasted of strong bodies.
My earnings increased and my wallet was filled, and because of that, I think I got too carried away. I got drunk once and accepted an invitation to gamble—something that I normally never did—from the adventurers I only exchanged greetings with. My luck showed itself even there, and I was able to win several times my capital.
In hindsight, it’s clear that it was a trap. After the series of wins and losses, my earnings turned red, and I tried to win them back in one go… which ended with my total defeat. I sobered up instantly and became pale, and then, the adventurers gently told me this.
“We’ll give you one month. If you run away, we’ll show this contract and notify the continent’s Guilds.”
The Guild generally didn’t get involved in the quarrels of Adventurers, but it was a different story if one of their Adventurers committed a crime. In that case, the Guild would send pursuers after them and even add their own sanctions on top.
An Adventurer that tried to run away from debt—while that wasn’t exactly a criminal—would hardly be overlooked by the Guild. If they sent pursuers after you, it meant there would no longer be an organization you could take jobs from.
I had a debt I couldn’t possibly pay. Whether I ran or not, my life was over.
“What should I do… What can I do?”
I tried to think about it by myself, but I couldn’t think of anything. The Adventurers I sometimes interacted with were gone on quests, and there was no one who’d lend me money without collateral.
If I am bound to become their plaything, I’d rather kill myself here and now, was what I thought, but I somehow held myself back. In the end, after thinking and thinking all night long, I reached a very straightforward conclusion — to settle the debt the Adventurers’ way.
“I’ll never earn enough no matter how many monsters I hunt around here. In that case… I have no choice but to find a strong monster and take its materials…”
I spread open the tattered map that I always carried with me on the table. On it, information about what plants I could get or what monsters I encountered were written in the respective areas that I had visited before.
I ignored the things I was already familiar with and instead looked at the edge of the map. There was a clumsy sketch of a lizard there, with ‘Dragon’ written underneath in small letters.
A Dragon Subjugation—That was something every Adventurer longed for. A Dragon’s body was a gold mine, and even just a single scale or nail went for a high price. In addition, the Adventurer who had slain it would be given the title Dragonslayer by the Guild, and on top of all kinds of benefits that came with it, one could even be employed by the King as a valuable battle power.
That was just how unbelievably strong a Dragon was, for even the most skilled parties helplessly fell to its single breath. As stupid as I may be, even I did not think of challenging a foe like that. What I aimed for was its nest or the surrounding area. They too were living beings, after all, they could very well be shedding their old scales. That’s right, I wasn’t trying to win them by force, but to pick up what had fallen.
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It was important to move with haste, so I crammed my familiar leather bag full of food and water and headed for the continent’s edge. I used the stagecoach up to the halfway point and walked the rest. I chose the less active road to avoid bandits and monsters, walking with all I had.
I kept on walking and walking even as my feet turned stiff, and finally, after two weeks, I reached the mountain I had set my sights on.
My food and water had long since run out, but I was a country-bred girl so I could sustain myself as long as I found a water source—I was made to realize how naive that thought was in less than half day.
This mountain was anything but normal. Even the monsters like Slimes that I was familiar with were several times stronger than normal, and the wild animals were stronger than any monster I had fought before. It was the first time I got kicked into fainting by a wild rabbit…
There were no animals or monsters I could beat, and my only food was the wild fruit. Both my stamina and willpower were shaved away bit by bit, yet the Dragon’s nest was nowhere in sight. I was so starved that I could barely walk, and was about to accept my death—but then, an incredible aroma assaulted my nose.
Using my sword as a cane, I desperately pursued the source of that smell. Then I saw her, an unbelievably beautiful girl sitting next to a giant boar and eating gracefully with a skewer in hand. A peerless beauty and a giant boar that could even fling monsters with its kicks. Such an unrealistic scene and my hunger left me astounded, and before I noticed I had fainted.
When I came to, I was sleeping in an unfamiliar hut.
“Are you awake?”
It was a pleasant voice. As I instinctively put myself on guard, the beauty from before looked at me with a troubled expression. It seemed that I was saved by this girl. As my stomach rumbled, the girl generously offered me meat.
A proper food that I hadn’t eaten in days. It was so tasty that emotional tears welled up in my eyes as the meat juices spread into my mouth. When my hunger was sated a bit, I had noticed one thing I overlooked before. Was this girl living here by herself?
Though I say so myself, I was stronger than an average Adventurer. I was convinced I could beat the male Adventurers in one-on-one fights. But even I was helpless before the animals of this mountain. Yet… this girl had hunted one by herself, this giant boar.
Just who is she… As I pondered about that question, the girl lit a flame on her fingertip and used it to roast the meat. She was a magician!? There were magicians among my acquaintances, but I had never seen someone casting Magic with no chants.
So a magician can live in this dangerous place, huh—I was trying to convince myself with that, but then I saw something even more unbelievable which made me immediately scratch it off.
She noticed that I was still hungry, so decided to take some more meat from under the floor. That in itself wasn’t strange. It wasn’t, but the way she did it was. It was a chunk of meat weighing several hundred kilograms. She grabbed and lifted it effortlessly with her slender arms that had no obvious muscles. I held back the urge to yell in shock, and desperately tried organizing my thoughts.
This girl… had a lot of unnatural aspects. Be it her herculean strength or chantless magic, or even her lovely appearance that you wouldn’t forget after seeing one time. If a girl like this lived in a town, it was bound to cause a ruckus.
Could she be a monster that had taken human shape…? No, no, that’s stretching it. If she wanted to kill me, she could have just punched me out of existence instead of such roundabout means. Which meant, she was a human. And a strong one at that. And judging from the fact that she saved me, she was probably not a bad person either.
Thinking that far, I realized that she was a godsend for me. After all, meeting a beauty who could effortlessly slay monsters and animals here would normally be impossible. Surely this was fate lending me a hand!
When I explained my circumstances and asked for help, her expression turned really displeased. Huh? Why is my angel looking so demonic? Weird, I was sure she would readily help me.
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Even so, as I kept requesting earnestly, though rather unwillingly, the angel finally accepted it. Her expression was clearly saying she found it bothersome, which hurt me a bit, but I was in no position to complain so I kept my mouth shut. Her name was Lapis, a lovely name just like her appearance.
When the dawn broke, Lapis took me outside, then circled behind me and put her arms around. I had never been hugged by a beauty like her so my heart couldn’t settle down. Well, well… I considered myself straight, but it looks like I’m pretty okay with girls, too.
But next moment, I had no more composure for such silly thoughts. Because, just as she hugged me, she flew up into the sky with a terrific speed.
My voice trailed off behind us extremely fast. I am flying! I am actually flying right now!
“Shut up. Can’t you keep quiet for a bit?”
“B-But how! How are we flying!?”
“Hah? I don’t have any wings, so how else? Magic, of course.”
Her exasperated voice tickled my ears. That would’ve been enough to make me faint, but I had no time for that now. I’ve heard about flight using Magic, but this was the first time I’ve ever seen one in practice! She wasn’t an ordinary girl after all!
Just as I started reflecting a bit on asking someone unbelievable for help, something flying far ahead of us came into my view. It was… A DRAGON!? There was no doubting it. It was a characteristic silhouette that I had only seen in documents. It was covered in shining emerald scales. That was definitely an Emerald Dragon that was considered the weakest among the Dragon kind.
Meanwhile, the Dragon that used to be far away was already just ahead of us. No way, was she planning to engage in aerial combat just like this?