|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1778 words|
“Hello. You must be the adventurers that accepted my request.”
The following morning, a guy was waiting for Merc, Foldia, and Svemir when they arrived at the scheduled location.
The man appeared to be in his mid-thirties. He was undoubtedly younger than Merc, being in the same age range as Foldia. If one considered the inside rather than the outside, that was.
The man then proceeded to introduce himself as Edin. He was from the Kirel Village and had come to Logholt to work for a few months.
“To think it’s already been three months since I came to Logholt. I was just getting used to the work here…”
Edin said with a dejected expression. In response, Svemir didn’t waste any time inquiring.
“Wat bout yar work?”
“Since I don’t know when I’ll be able to come back I decided to quit. It was possible to take an extended leave, but I might stay in Kirel for a while.”
“Hm. There must be something big brewing for ya to go back.”
“My wife and child are in Kirel. However, the regular letters that I got from them suddenly stopped all of a sudden. There’s no reply no matter how many letters I send. I’m worried sick that something might have happened.”
Edin described his situation. This, in turn, aroused Merc’s interest.
“How long has it been since the last letter?”
“About a month, I guess. Typically, they would arrive once every week, or once every two weeks at the latest.”
Since Edin regarded Merc as being younger than himself, his tone was warmer when he spoke than when he had spoken with Svemir. Merc, in turn, seemed unconcerned about it and replied with a simple nod.
“So in order to return as quickly as possible, you submitted the pricey urgent request?” Foldia asked, just after Edin finished replying to Merc’s question.
“Correct. I came to Logholt by myself at first. At the time, I had a difficult time dealing with bandits and Magic Beasts, so this time I made the decision to recruit some adventurers even if it would cost me a bit.”
Edin replied with a serious tone.
Even though Edin likely thought of Foldia as being younger than himself, he nonetheless made the decision to treat him similarly to how he had treated Svemir. Although she didn’t express it, Merc was a little upset by this. She knew that there was no point in fighting over this, so she simply let it go.
“Well since yar in a hurry let’s go! It’s 10 days to Kirel Village… Are ya all ready?”
A bulging rucksack stood in front of Edin’s feet, and Merc and Foldia had already made preparations. All of them were ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
Thus, the four set out for Kirel Village.
Four days had passed since the group had left Logholt. The journey had been uneventful over these days. The only issue thus far was that Edin had been advancing slower than anticipated, but even that was not a cause for alarm if everything else was in order.
As anticipated, the group arrived in the Town of Ruho on the fourth day.
“Wow. So you’re going to Kirel.”
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The group had stopped at a restaurant to eat and rest after reaching Ruho. The owner of the restaurant had spoken to them at that time. The gang had happily informed him where they were heading because they had no need to keep it a secret. But they didn’t anticipate his response.
“What’s wrong with Kirel Village?”
“Nothing… You can reach it in a week’s time. That is if you go through the Goldless Tunnel.”
“The Goldless Tunnel? Do you mean the tunnel that runs through this big mountain?” Merc inquired, pulling out the map the guild had given her and pointing to what looked like a tunnel.
“That’s the one. The place that you’re pointing at is the so-called, Goldless Tunnel.” the restaurant owner said.
“Oh, I know it. I passed through it the first time I went to Logholt. It is fairly wide and very bright thanks to the magic illumination apparatus installed throughout it.”
Edin added, recalling a previous trip through the tunnel.
“Normally, traveling through the tunnel would take you to Kirel without problems, but sadly, it has been closed for over a month. You have no choice but to go around.”
“What? Has the entrance collapsed or something?”
After hearing the owner’s remarks, Foldia asked.
Tunnels were less likely to collapse nowadays because of the use of magic and advances in excavation technology, but older ones were still vulnerable to collapse unless they were restored.
If the so-called Goldless Tunnel was old, it would not be surprising if it had collapsed and become impassable. The owner, however, shook his head, indicating that was not the case.
“The entrance is fine. The Goldless Tunnel is a remnant of the past that was dug out because the mountain was considered to be a gold mine. The mountain ultimately proved to be a dud. Even so, they made the decision to complete the tunnel since they believed it would be a waste of money. Hence the name Goldless Tunnel. Funny, isn’t it.”
“That’s an interesting story, indeed. However, if it hasn’t collapsed, why can’t we access it?”
“Apparently, gold was discovered in the Goldless Tunnel1.”
The reasoning was totally ludicrous. The tunnel, dubbed the Goldless Tunnel, had unexpectedly yielded gold. Something like that wasn’t easy to believe.
“Are you for real? Didn’t you say that nothing was discovered after a thorough investigation, which is why it’s now just a tunnel?”
“Well yea, However, it appears that someone did in fact find gold ore within the tunnel and let the local nobles know about it. If there really is a gold vein inside that tunnel, then it will make someone filthy rich. There’s no way the nobles would pass up on such an opportunity.”
“Then the reason they closed the tunnel is…”
“To carry out an extensive search. It’s expected that it’ll take several months. As a result, getting through is not possible right now.”
Edin muttered with a defeated tone as his shoulders fell. The idea of being unable to return to Kirel devastated him.
“Say boss, ain’t there a way to get to Kirel without the tunnel? Some kind of detour or something?”
Svemir, unable to bear to watch Edin dejected, asked. The owner, though, showed a troubled face.
“A detour… To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend it. There are two other ways. One is to leave the town and enter the Chulice Empire. There’s a road there that leads to Kirel. You won’t run into any Magic Beasts and will have a reasonably simple journey if you go that route.”
“How much will it slow us down?”
“Hm. It’s only a day slower when compared to passing through the Goldless Tunnel.”
“That’s amazing! It’s settled then!” Svemir exclaimed.
“Perfect! No, wait…”
For a brief moment, Edin’s expression brightened. Nevertheless, it quickly sank once more.
“Huh? Wat’s wrong?”
“You said we’d need to go through the Chulice Empire, correct?”
“That’s right. I’m afraid that you can’t use that option as well.”
Edin’s complexion grew even worse.
Meanwhile, Merc, Foldia, and Svemir were all staring at the owner and Edin, looking confused by what they were saying.
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“Wat do ya mean?”
“You’re adventurers so this doesn’t affect you, however, the Chulice Empire started limiting general people’s access to the Empire a few years ago. Without an adventurer’s license, one is required to pay a hefty entrance fee or go through an immigration process which may well take several months or even a whole year. What good is it if you three can go if your client can’t follow you?”
“I guess luck isn’t on our side.”
The owner’s statement left all three of them completely dumbfounded.
Although Merc had never visited the Chulice Empire, not even as Estert, she had never heard of such a restriction. She imagined it to be something that had been decided upon after her death.
“What’s the other option?”
After completely ruling out the option of going to the Chulice Empire, Foldia asked.
“To be honest, I don’t advise using that one. Young man, you look pretty tough. What Grade are you?”
The owner asked, throwing a question right back at Foldia.
Foldia, in turn, smiled and looked at Merc.
Don’t you dare tell him!
Merc screamed, however, there was no way Foldia could hear her thoughts.
Foldia’s cover would be blown right away if he were to accidentally reveal that he was a Grade 1 Adventurer.
After all, one could count the number of Grade 1 Adventurers across the whole continent in one’s hands.
“Hehe… That’s a secret.”
Foldia replied, allaying Merc’s fear. With a smile on his face, he then continued,
“However, I’m not weak.”
“I can see that much. Then you’ll probably be fine.”
Probably persuaded by Foldia’s smile, the owner said. He then proceeded to point at a place on the map.
“Look here. You’ll have to go around the right side of the Goldless Tunnel and pass through this tiny forest. However, be warned. Magic Beasts dwell in this forest. Grade 4 Adventurers shouldn’t have any trouble getting through as long as they are skilled. It’s a walk in the park if one is a Grade 3 Adventurer or higher. I assume that you’ll be okay.”
“Old man Svemir’s a Grade 3 Adventurer so we’ll be fine.” Foldia exclaimed.
“I’m a Grade 6, though…”
Foldia’s words drowned out Merc’s hushed response. Everyone then turned their attention to the location the owner was pointing to on the map, ignoring Merc’s remark.
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Merc, seemingly not affected by it, also turned her attention to the map.
“It’ll only take a day to reach Kirel after you’ve passed the forest. That’s all I can tell you. Make sure to get there safely, okay?”
“Thank you. Truly. Is there some way we can repay you?”
Edin thanked the owner for explaining everything to them. They most likely would have become stuck in front of the Goldless Tunnel if it weren’t for him.
“Hahaha! Don’t fret! I’ll add the information fee to your bill. Hahaha! Well then, enjoy.”
As he made his way to the restaurant’s back, the owner remarked while laughing heartily.
“What a great man.” Foldia remarked while smiling as he observed the owner leave. He was not alone. Svemir, Edin, and even Merc shared his opinion.
Later, when the group prepared to leave the restaurant, their bill simply said, “stay safe,” rather than including an additional fee.