Chapter 5 – The Adventurers

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Author: Sasaki Ichiro Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mado English Source: MadoSpicy TL
Editor(s): Dissonant Serenity, Silva

The emu, a bird with legs just beyond 1.7 meters long at adulthood. A huge feathery bird that to the top of its head exceeds 3 meters in height. Emu are flightless birds, but can run very fast. Also the bird is willing to eat any weed around no matter how repulsive.

The price of the bird is cheap compared to a horse or a land dragon, something that’s absolutely necessary for a poor adventurer like Joey.

Emus however have many weaknesses. To begin with, Emus can’t carry anywhere near the load of a horse or even just a donkey. Second, Emus are bird-brains that can’t handle any complicated training. Thirdly and most damningly: emus have a very bad temperament and are hostile to everyone except their tamer.

For this reason the Emu was tied to a tree, but the moment Hiyuki caught sight of the bird-

“Heeeー, is that an emu?! It looks like chocobo, so cuteー”

A smiling Hiyuki half-ran to the bird as Joey panicked over the defenseless girl’s approach.

“W-WAIT! That bird has a very bad temperament――”

Before Joey’s warning left his mouth the alarmed bird was bending its leg as though preparing to kick the girl into the air. -At that moment the Bird and the girl’s eyes met.

The emu’s face twisted in surprise as the bird hurriedly put its foot back down and dipped its head low to the ground in frantic submission.

“…Eh? Eh? Why…?”

While Joey stands confused Hiyuki is gently brushing the bird’s feathers.

“Uwaaah~, this child is so cute~. Something like this exists, eh. I want to bring home 5-6 of these.” Said Hiyuki, a blissful smile on her face.

Oh well it’s fine I guess, it doesn’t seem to be a serious problem… Joey sighed in relief as he started to untie the reins that tied the Emu to the tree.

“There there, I’m surprised you didn’t hurt her, good child.”

Joey gently pats the Emu’s lower chin before getting on the saddle, putting both feet into the stirrup and steadied himself firmly.

“So Hiyuki, get on behind me. Originally, it was a single seat saddle so it’s narrow, but since you are tiny, it will be fine.”
“You don’t have to say tiny.”

Hiyuki pouts and pulls herself up behind Joey to sit side saddle, her feet together.

…I— I see…she’s wearing a skirt. While his heart’s throbbing like crazy because of her gesture, he still advised her, “It’s better if you keep your hands firmly around my waist so you won’t fall down.”

“O, okay…”

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Being told so, Hiyuki glued her slender body onto Joey’s back.

Just as she did, the girl’s particular fragrance that smells like sweet nectar assaulted the young man’s senses, and the pair of softness that couldn’t be mistaken as anything else even if he was lacking imagination, as the elastic sensation hit his back. His whole body becomes hot, and together with his manly urges that seem to erupt, he shakes his head in panic.

“T-This is bad!”

Joey unintentionally murmurs his voice out loud.

“Hmm? Did you say something?”

Turning her head to take a glimpse for a moment, Hiyuki saw the side of Joey’s neck, he turned down his face in embarrassment.

“I, it’s nothing! I was just thinking it’s bad that there is no food anywhere nearby.”
“Oh is that it? If you’re hungry, I have some kind of dried meat you know? Besides, when we arrive in the town of Alra, there’s going to be a lot of food either at the food stall or the restaurant. Can you hold it until then?”
“W, well, I am fine. More or less, I have some sort of emergency food…but, if possible, I don’t want to easily put my hand into it, since we can’t predict when the situation will turn dire.”
“Oh, so it’s that matter. Surely eating it now would be a dilemma in case of a real emergency. Then let’s hold out and eat something delicious in town!”
“Yeah, I’ll endure.”

Making haste at once, he pulls the reins to make the bird stand up, but for some reason the bird won’t do as he wants. That moment, the emu directed its gaze toward Hiyuki like asking for her instruction, Hiyuki understood and nodded lightly, thereupon the bird began to follow Joey’s instruction and stood up.

“What’s going on with this fellow? What a great bird. It’d rather follow a girl whom he just met than its master huh?”

As Joey mutters his complaint of this situation, Hiyuki laughs and gently brushes the emu’s feathers.

“Ahahaha, it will be my honor. But, disobeying Joey is not good, you know.”

Hearing her, the emu just squawked in agreement.

◆◇◆◇

The free city of Alra prospered due its important location in the intersection of the main road. The city’s also in the vicinity of the dungeon and the sea of trees, then accompanied by the White Dragon mountain range behind the city where high quality metals were collected. Therefore, it served as a great mecca for merchants, craftsmen, and youngsters that come from the countryside to make a name or archive their ambition.

Naturally, the adventurer’s guild also responded to the scale, they built a 3-floor stone building that surpassed any building in this city, even someone who didn’t want to see it when walking on the main street will notice its majestic appearance.

The number of registered adventurers are no less than twenty thousand people, from the bottom which is the G rank, who are still apprentices, up to the A rank in the top, who can even fight a dragon alone.

The guild personnels are used to seeing adventurers with all sorts of personalities, from rowdy ones to cranky ones, even those with a bad personality. But, on this particular evening, an unknown girl intruded under the lead of an F rank greenhorn, a really out of place combination.

“Hey hey, Joey, where did that princess come from?! How did you kidnap her! Or don’t tell me, you were eloping!?”

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The girl with the uncanny good looks was sitting on the guild’s cheap sofa, her legs dangling as she looked around curiously. And her clothes are of such a quality that even the untrained eye can tell that she has spent an unprecedented amount of time and effort, as well as a lot of money. She looked like a princess from some other country who was traveling incognito.

The reception and payment counter on the first floor of the guild, normally filled with wild excitement, was watching the girl’s every move with bated breath, as were the staff and adventurers in attendance.

In the midst of all this, a female employee at the counter – Mia, a catkin who will turn 20 this year – who knew Joey, the person who had brought the source of the problem, leaned over the counter to confront him.

Normally, Joey would blush, scurry about in a restless manner, and speak quickly to accept requests and make reports just by being spoken to by Mia, who is older and can be described as beautiful (although Mia was also conscious of the youngster’s youthful, innocent attitude and was teasing him), but this time, the boy sighed with a blank look on his face when she brought her face close enough to touch him.

“…Of course not, that’s just a client, escorting and guiding. And she said she wanted to see the guild, so I brought her here, is there a problem Mia?”
“Eh, no, nothing of that sort…”

Mia is mildly shocked at Joey’s lackadaisical attitude, which is a sharp contrast to his usual demeanor, and she looks at the girl again and replies with a complicated maiden’s mind.

Seeing that Mia has calmed down, Joey begins to talk about the request.

“By the way, concerning the wild dog subjugation request, is the time period still safe?”

“Ooh, that request” Mia nodded, her head back in work mode. “I think we’re still good to go for two days. What, you haven’t found it yet?”

“No, I found one and fought it, but there were not one, but two. Possibly a pair. I was almost done for, so I think I will need to redo the preparation.”
“Hmmmm, so it’s a pair. Then I will contact the client again, try to ask for a higher reward and extend the time period.”
“I see, I am saved….”

“But Joey, to say it bluntly, one or two war dogs won’t make much difference to a full-fledged adventurer. ―Isn’t this subjugation request too early after all? Or maybe you’d like to join a group somewhere?”

Toward Joey who made a relieved sigh, Mia advises him like an older sister who’s scolding her little brother.

“I’m sure you’ll be able to find a good place for a newly newly promoted F-ranked guy like me, but it will probably be as a baggage handler, right?”

“I think being a baggage handler is important for gaining experience, though.” Mia keeps reminding him, but Joey is still not convinced.

It is true that there are adventurers who have made remarkable achievements on their own from the very beginning and have made a name for themselves at a young age. However, such people are truly a handful of geniuses.

Compared to that, no matter how it looked, the boy’s ability is just average. There is no choice for him but to become full-fledged by accumulating steady efforts.

That’s why, if he does not compromise somewhere, he will either give up the path of an adventurer sooner or later, or he will lose his life….

Mia, who had seen many such young people in her not-so-long guild career, sighed gloomily.

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“―By the way, Mia. I wonder if I can use this?”

Joey, perhaps in an effort to change the darkening atmosphere, lined up coins from his pocket on the counter in an easygoing tone.

“….I have never seen these coin designs.”

Before long she tries to check the weight by taking out one of the gold coins.

It isn’t fake judging from the weight…in fact, it feels heavier than the common continental pane gold coins, which are made by mixing gold and silver.

(-Maybe it is made of pure gold?!)

Mia picked up another coin, twice larger than the gold coin, which she first thought was a silver coin, and nearly screamed at the luster of the rainbow-colored sheen reflecting the light of the candelabra, and gasped in panic.

(Th, this is…do-don’t tell me, its orichalcum?!)

Mia, who had been holding back her trembling hands and returning the coins to their original state, quickly asked the staff member behind the counter to leave a message, and then asked Joey, half-convinced of the answer.

“Hey, Joey. Where did you obtain these coins?”
“Aah, that girl handed it over as the request reward back then.”

Joey was put off by Mia’s unusually serious gaze, and pointed to a girl who was amusingly looking at the notes of various requests on the request board.

The girl is occasionally flapping her shoulders and knees, as if the dust in the room is bothering her.

“―Hmm, as I thought.”

There, the staff who was entrusted with the message has come back with a bloodshot look, and whispered something into Mia’s ear.

“Joey, I’m sorry, but I’d like to ask you a few questions, so could you please come with me to the guild master’s room?”

The boy must have thought that this out of the ordinary, and his face turned pale as he looked at Mia.

“W, what happened? Perhaps this was stolen goods or something?”
“Nothing that sort of. I just find it too hard to understand and want to know what’s going on.”
“……”

As Joey hesitated, the girl came to the counter and replied.

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“I wouldn’t mind. Besides, I have something I want to confirm, so if I can meet the guild master, it would be a blessing in disguise, wouldn’t it?”

Joey nodded in agreement.

“Well, that’s good. The guild master’s room is on the third floor. This way please.”

Hiyuki was following Mia, who stood up first and headed for the stairs, and patted the shoulder area again.

“Say, you’ve been doing this for a while now. Is it that dusty here?”

Joey asked, to which Hiyuki answered with a somewhat challenging smile, as if to evade the question.

“Nah, I was just concerned about the spider threads a while ago…. Well, even if the coin thing hadn’t happened, I thought I’d be called in by now.”



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