|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2138 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1055 words|
We had been to the Haunted Lands not too many days ago, so we knew in what direction to go. We also had a map just in case, which was jam-packed with information about places where we could renew our provisions or inns and other interesting landmarks. After around one week of traveling together, we arrived at the village.
“Welcome, adventurers. I’m Komine, the chief of this village.”
The village’s chief came out to greet us, bowing deeply. His face showed fatigue that had been weighing on him for a long time. He had probably been in a constant state of stress fearing monsters would come attacking at any moment. Bordaule is a large country, so when asking for help from a governor it could take a very long time before a response came, given that most government officials could not operate as flexibly as adventurers. He had probably barely had a moment of rest until we arrived.
“We’d like to hear the details of the case, do you have a place where we can talk in peace?”
“Of course, of course, let’s head to my house if you don’t mind. This is a really small village so we don’t have a single inn yet.”
Komine nodded many times hearing Ciel’s request, then turned around and began walking. That was unexpected…there was no inn around here. We had been camping out in the wild for around a week already, so I had hoped we could have a better sleep for once when we arrived here. But there was no point in lamenting something like that, so I snapped out of my disappointment and followed after Komine. The others followed as well, except for one person who stood still. I had already guessed who it was, Diaria, who stood with an exhausted face and refused to move an inch.
“Diaria, what are you doing? Let’s go.”
“I wanted…to take…a bath…”
I could sympathize with her. She was a forest elf, who all seriously valued cleanliness and being tidy. She was also a beautiful girl, in a different way to Lapis, and was very popular in the city. I had seen guys call out to her many times in the city or the guild. Every time we went on adventures with her, if there was time for a bath, she would take one every time. Though Ciel and I were already used to cleaning our bodies just with a wet towel, so sometimes we felt she was exaggerating.
“I’m truly sorry about that. If you wish you can use the bath in my house, I don’t have much more to offer, so my house is yours. We don’t expect you to go hunting until tomorrow morning after all.”
“…Thanks, I really appreciate that.”
“It’s alright, no need to mention it.”
As soon as Diaria heard there was a bath available, her spirits were lifted. Me, Ciel, and even Komine could only grimace seeing how easily her disposition changed after hearing a single word.
Given that he was the village’s chief, Komine’s house was much larger than the other houses. There were three rooms inside, one was Komine’s bedroom, the other was a dining room and the last was a guest room we could use to sleep. We left most of our heavy equipment and baggage there to feel more at ease and then went to the dining room where Komine waited for us. When we got there, we noticed there were three cups of tea ready.
“Take a drink, you must be tired.”
“Thank you very much.”
I was getting thirsty, so this came at the perfect moment. The tea was brewed at just the right temperature, not too hot and not too cold, so it was easy to drink and I could feel the warm liquid spreading through my exhausted body. I ended up downing the entire cup in one gulp, and then the three of us exhaled loudly. Komine looked pleased and poured us a second serving.
“With that out of the way, shall we talk about the details of the request?”
“Of course, go ahead.”
“Well, the first sighting…”
Komine’s story closely matched the description in the request filing. Doing this was common practice for this kind of request, just to make sure there were no mistakes in the request, so it was necessary to confirm the target, their numbers, where they had been sighted, the reward, and other small details. Sometimes there would be large discrepancies between the stories which could lead to conflicts, but this time everything seemed to be in order.
“There’s a clearing covered with rocks in the forest, they seem to have nested there. A long time ago there was a mining operation there, so that whole area has many small caves.”
I did not mind fighting a fire lizard in an open space, but doing so in a narrow place like a cave sounded like a very bad idea. It was harder to swing my sword in a place like that, but there were also fewer places to jump to when evading their fire breath, so that detail alone made the request much harder.
“How many caves does that mine have?”
“Well, that depends on how you see it, there are multiple entrances, all facing the same direction, but they all connect inside, so in a way, it’s just one large cave.”
“I see, so we don’t necessarily have to check each hole individually.”
The brains of our party, Ciel, smiled in a familiar way. She had a plan. I always relied on her in this part of the request, I was never good at planning stuff, but she always came up with handy strategies.
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“What are you thinking of?”
“Well, since the caves are all connected, we have two options. One of them is to seal all the entrances but one, then set the remaining one on fire. That way the oxygen inside the cave will burn out and they might asphyxiate inside there. But since they use fire themselves that might have no effect on them, so that’s a big risk in the plan.”
When Ciel got to that point, Diaria chimed in to point out the flaws.