Chapter 46 – Thread of Hope

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Author: Tsunose Bun Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3024 characters
Translator: Jiro English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1384 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

After demonstrating his prowess, Brega began to explain to the examinees, who were now wary of him.

“As I already said, you will have one week to get to the City of Logholt. The exam results will undoubtedly be announced at Logholt in a week, therefore there will be no additional changes to plans. If you fail to get there on time you will be deemed as having failed. And will have to wait until next time to take it again.”

Brega’s indifferent explanation irritated all of the examinees. But that wasn’t surprising in the least. After all, they had been told that the exam would be held in Logholt, not here. Furthermore, they had not even been informed of the reason.
 
In addition, it didn’t seem like Brega had any intention of telling them.

“All right, then. I assume that some of you have never been to Logholt, so I will hand out a map to each of you. Of course, how you get there is entirely up to you. However, just in case, you should bring a map with you.”
“Huh? Hey, just what in the world is this route?!”

All of the examinees were stunned after glancing at the maps handed out by Brega. The reason for this was that there was a red line drawn straight across the steep mountains and numerous lakes on the vast map of the Lezau Duchy. If one followed the line, they would undoubtedly save time. Nevertheless, their journey would be significantly more difficult.

“This is the shortest traversable route from Ende to Logholt. Even on foot, you should be able to reach Logholt if you take this route.”
“Don’t f̲u̲c̲k̲ with us! Shortest traversable route? You want us to travel through mountains teeming with Magic Beasts and even traverse through lakes? Only adventurers would be able to take this route1!”
“That is correct. But, aren’t I correct in thinking that you’re all here because you want to be adventurers? So, wouldn’t you agree that using this route and getting to Logholt is appropriate in this case?”
“That’s…”
“Furthermore, it is not like I am forcing you to take this route. We’ve merely illustrated what it is… It is absolutely up to you whether you take it or not. It is solely your responsibility.”

After Brega’s statement, everyone in the room started looking at each other. Despite the fact that they were all rivals, they had chosen to work together to accomplish this difficult task.
 
Various opinions were soon heard from all sides of the room.

Didn’t Nano say that the exam starts right after you register? It’s best to believe that our current behavior is being evaluated as well.

While assessing her surroundings, Merc thought calmly. Despite the fact that she wasn’t sure if that was the case or not she still crossed her arms and closed her eyes, signaling that this much was nothing to her.

“Hey, Merc. What are you going to do?”

Merc gently opened one eye to glance at Totoara, who had just spoken to her.

“I’m going to follow the map, what else? It’s not like I know any other routes.”
“But that route is a bit… It’s really dangerous.”
“Then what are you going to do, Totoara? Are you taking a different route? Or are you giving up?”
“I-I’m still thinking about it…”

Totoara said, crossing her arms in the same way Merc did, emphasizing her chest even more. After taking a quick glance at Totoara’s chest, Merc closed her eyes.
 
Soon after that Brega clapped his hands to get everyone’s attention.

“Everyone, may I have your attention please. There is something that I forgot to mention. A carriage to Logholt will depart from this Guild branch in a few minutes.”
“A carriage?”
“Correct. It was provided by the Guild in order to transport the exam’s supervising members to Logholt. Unfortunately, it appears that the Guild provided one that was a little too big… And it’s not any carriage, but a carriage pulled by Belballs that can transport up to 20 people. What a careless mistake on the Guild’s part.”

Brega spoke without any emotion, as he always did. Those remarks, on the other hand, sounded suspicious to Merc. Merc concluded from Brega’s speeches thus far that this was most likely how he always spoke, but his final few sentences seemed to be a complete ruse.

Merc wasn’t buying this at all, so she decided to ask something.

“Can I ask something?”
“Of course.”
“Is the Belball carriage you’re referring to the one outside the Guild?”
“That is correct. Have you already seen it?”

After Brega responded to Merc’s question, the room began to fill with voices saying, “I saw it too”, “It’s right in front of the Guild, it’d be strange not to see it”.
 
In the end it was a carriage big enough to block half of the road. Everyone in the room had undoubtedly noticed it.

“In a few moments, the staff members will board the carriage and proceed to Logholt to deliver exam-related paperwork. If any of you would like to join, you are welcome to do so. Keep in mind, however, that the Guild will not be held liable for anything that may occur.”

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After Brega said that the whole room suddenly went quiet. Then it erupted in cheers the next instant.

“Are you being serious?!”
“Whoa! Lucky!”
“I-Is this really possible? Of course we’ll go!”
“Look at you going ahead and scaring us like that. It seems like the Guild didn’t underestimate us after all. If it can ride 20 people, then all of us here should be able to get on.”

When that sliver of hope was presented, everyone’s attitude shifted. Merc, on the other hand, simply lost herself in thought while observing the situation. She felt something was off about this whole thing.

They suddenly changed the venue and even refused to tell us why. They even handed us that map with the red line on it. Finally, they offered the alternative of taking the Belball carriage to Logholt, as if to entirely invalidate everything they had done up to this point… But that Belball carriage…

Even if they traveled over the safe roads, a Belball carriage could easily travel from Ende to Logholt in a week.
 
Despite the fact that the present carriage was big enough for twenty people, it was still pulled by Belballs, three of them to be exact. The three Belballs could easily pull over 50 people with their strength. So there wouldn’t be a problem.

If an issue arose, however, it would almost certainly be with the abnormal Belballs that Merc had seen before entering the Guild. If Merc’s assumption was correct, then Brega’s thread of hope was actually a trap. Merc would not make it to Logholt on time if she boarded the carriage.

“All right, then. Do whatever you can to get to Logholt in the following week. This concludes my explanation. Those of you who wish to board the carriage should remain here and wait for the staff to prepare. Once again, whether you get on or not is entirely up to you.”

Following Brega’s words, Merc’s suspicions were realized, as the majority of the examinees remained in the room as if it were the most normal thing to do. They even started chatting as if they’d already arrived in Logholt. Merc believed they were all quite hypocritical after seeing them like that, especially when they had just bared their fangs at Brega.

“I guess I should go…”

Merc rose from her seat among the happy chatter and made her way to the exit. She had opted to travel on foot after considering various options.

It didn’t matter to her if she was overthinking things. The only thing that mattered was to get to Logholt before the deadline2, just as Brega had mentioned.

Even if those in the carriage arrived ahead of her, the only thing that mattered to Merc was that she’d arrived in the end.

“Oh? Are you not taking the carriage?” 

Brega asked after witnessing Merc heading towards the exit. Merc just turned her head back and answered with a slight nod.

“Yea. I’ll pass. I’m not a fan of traveling in groups3.”



References

  1. Robinxen: Aren’t you wanting to become one? That’s like saying “Only an Engineer could pass this exam!” when applying to an Engineering job.
  2. Robinxen: This is a very pragmatic and appropriate approach.
  3. Robinxen: Although a valid excuse, I’d mark this down on the exam because healer adventurers inherently can’t be loners.

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