Section 2: Send Off
The night of Mycena’s invasion, I traveled over to Solretta Litta’s Warrior Guild. I had to dig my feet in and really push to open that bulky wooden door.
Stepping into the Warrior Guild building at night really feels like I’ve stepped into a world of adults. Unlike the church, this massive wooden building opened directly into a tavern and dining area where adventurers can chat amongst themselves after having finished their jobs.
I lived a life completely unrelated to this place half a year ago. As a matter of fact, I only learned a couple days ago that there was a counter in the far back of the building where adventurers are supposed to accept jobs from the waiting receptionists.
“Hm? You here on business jou-chan?”
“Ah, um…….yes, I am…….”
I’ve visited this place with Toslin and the others before, so I have already experienced what type of place this is and what type of people hang out here. So after readying myself mentally, I had walked inside. But, I’m still scared. Because I was immediately called out by a man who had a body larger than my dad’s and was carrying a sword. If a man like this suddenly starts glaring at me, of course all the words I had prepared in advance would fly out my head.
“Hey hey, we got a little one here. Come here for a bit. We’ll listen to ya.”
The knife hanging at another man’s waist quivered as he stood up. That’s when I noticed the large ax strapped to his back. If he were to swing that at me, I’d be cleaved clean in two with one stroke.
“Come on, quit standing there and come over here already. You’re letting in all the cold air.”
“Tsk, can’t be helped.”
I shrank back and apologized while the man with the large ax sighed deeply. He then walked my way and extended out his hand.
“Well then here, fill out your business on this.”
“What’s the ‘yes?’ supposed to mean? Can you not write? If not, I can write for you.”
“I-I know how to write, I know how to write!!”
The man presented a piece of parchment and a writing brush to me. I took them both in hand before running over to a nearby table that didn’t have any people at it and wrote down my name along with the reason why I was here.
“Here, tea. Drink up.”
“Y-Yes. T-…….Thank you very much.”
This time another man came over and set down a steaming cup of tea in front of me. Maybe……they think I’m a customer? No perhaps, and I know it’s rude for me to say this, but maybe despite their fierce-looking faces…..they’re all just genuinely good people? They went out of their way to get me some tea after all.
“Was there some kind of dispute?”
Saluena couldn’t get inside because I was blocking the door, so she only has a partial understanding of what just happened. So when she took a seat next to me after finally being able to come into the building, she asked me such.
“Oh, Saluena. No, not really…….”
“Hm? This time it’s…..a swordswoman? I’ve never seen you before. Do the two of you know each other?”
The man who served me tea took a look at the sword hanging off Saluena’s back and asked me a question.
“Ah, yes. That’s right. I came here today to meet up with some adventurers I know……”
“Oi oi, what’s that? Tell me that sooner. I was starting to think a customer had come by.”
“S-So sorry……and you even got me some tea……”
“Hah? I don’t care about that. But you’re going to catch a cold if you sit around waiting in a corner. Come further inside.”
The man beckoned me to follow him as he walked over to a big stove in the middle of the room. There was a big pot sitting on top, steam billowing out.
“I figured from the beginning you weren’t going to be a customer. You’re, Iris-chan, the girl who works at Flammel-senpai’s place right?”
“Y-Yes. My name is Iris Calvafon.”
I lowered my head in greeting towards the surrounding men, but in my heart I was tilting my head to the side in confusion. I mean, senpai? That means this man is one of Dad’s……kouhais? ……how though? It’s really hard for me to imagine a point where Dad and these men would ever really associate. Perhaps they’re old friends from their school days?
“Oho, Senpai’s daughter. An even bigger deal than I thought.”
“What are you saying? Just a minute ago you saw this kid and were talking about how a little one had shown up!”
A roar of laughter resounded through the guild building. Some of the men were eating bread and meat or drinking alcohol together, probably enjoying a night’s dinner.
“Um, everyone here is part of the Warrior Guild right? If you don’t mind, I have a small question……”
“No, we aren’t?”
I never thought they were going to tell me I was wrong, so I tripped up on what I was going to say.
“Eh? But…..this is the Warrior Guild building isn’t it? And everyone is holding an ax……”
“We’re woodcutters. This building doubles as a base for both the Warrior Guild and the Carpenter Guild.”
“O-Oh I see. I never knew that.”
“Well, it’s not like we ever get any women or children coming in here.”
“So? You said you came here to see an adventurer you know. Is it that beautiful jou-chan behind you?”
“Ah, no. I’m looking for a party made from an elf, werewolf, and a priestess…….”
“If it’s them, they were brought into the back a while ago.”
“They’re probably hearing the details about their job.”
“Maybe it’s about that? Those voices people keep hearing from the ruins at night.”
“My apologies, but could you tell me more about that?”
Having remained quiet until now, Saluena suddenly spoke up.
“Mm, yeah it’s fine. But all I know is what I’ve heard from other people.”
The man with an ax on his back spoke up, telling us he heard from a hunter friend of his who had in turn heard a strange moaning coming from the ruins after entering the forest late one night to catch some game. The hunter had walked in the direction where the sound was coming from, but he apparently didn’t find anything.
“Hmm, it’s not much more than what we heard from Aronda.”
“What jou-chan, you know Aronda-sama? Hold on wait? Addressing her without any honorifics, you aren’t actually some kind of noble…….”
“No, just a knight. I currently serve under Iris.”
The looks the men were giving Saluena until now suddenly changed. Up until this point, they were all acting friendly towards her because they thought she was just a young swordswoman. But now that they all knew she was a knight, they started looking rather uncomfortable.
“Oh, um~. We didn’t know, so, sorry for speaking so rudely to you……”
“I care not. Thank you for the information.”
Solretta Litta has seen its fair share of soldiers, but knights are rare. The men’s awkwardness is proof of that. A heavy air where nobody knows what to say soon settled. There were some men who had been eating their meals until now who had suddenly frozen with their forks still hanging in their mouths, unsure if they were allowed to just keep eating as they were before. I’m really sorry about this.
“Iris, Saluena. Sorry, did we make you wait long?”
That was when the light voice of a god brought sweet salvation.
“No, we just got here.”
It should go without saying that voice belonged to Toslin. Her long, golden hair fluttered behind her back as she walked our way while wearing her recently repaired armor.
“Wow, so shiny. I’m glad your armor’s fixed.”
“I even told him not to polish it because I’d look like a novice…….”
I’m guessing he refused to take any half-measures with any equipment belonging to an orange rank adventurer. According to the blacksmith, Toslin’s armor is apparently imbued with magic that reduces the damage it takes from magic-based attacks. That is why in order to maximize the effect of the enchantment, it’s necessary to keep the patterns etched onto the surface of the armor completely clean. Just what you’d expect from armor she inherited from her ancestors.
“Rose-san too, your new armor looks very nice.”
“Fufu, thank you very much. I’m happy to hear you say that Iris-san.”
The blacksmith had taken a look at Rose-san’s armor and shield as well, but it was judged that both of them had reached the end of their lives. Even though they had suffered through the assault of a dragon, apparently the series of blows from Saluena afterwards was more than they could handle. Most of the damage was drawn to the breastplate which meant the leather armor was still usable, but Rose-san decided now was a good opportunity to get all brand new equipment.
“Hmm, you somehow look even more gallant than before while looking just as cute. I knew my eyes weren’t lying to me.”
“Yes, Sally-oneesama’s advice is to thank for this.”
Right now Rose-san is wearing chainmail instead of leather underneath her robe, and her breastplate has been switched out for platemail that protects her stomach and back. The platemail was provided by the church, and a tikarodeka emblem was carved right on the breast.
Her usual spiked mace hung at her side, and a large, diamond-shaped shield called a kite shield was strapped to her back. She used to always use a circular shield but switched to this because it could protect her feet while riding Goldmund.
“You look more like a knight than Toslin.”
Carol was the only one who didn’t change any of her equipment.
“It can’t be helped. I use a two-handed sword.”
“Even though Toslin only ever uses one hand to wield it………..”
“Yes yes, now stop. We’ll annoy people if you two do your usual thing here. Besides, aren’t you leaving tonight?”
The reason why I came here…….isn’t to go on an adventure with them and finish this job. I came here to see them off.
“Oh, you’re right. I can’t spend all my time on Carol like always. Aah, that was dangerous, really dangerous.”
“What do you mean like always’!! I demand a retraction!!”
The usual exchange ended up happening anyway. But seeing them like this, my heart began to ache a little.
I can’t go with them. I talked it over with everyone yesterday over lunch and finally came to a decision.
This is the town where I was born and raised, where my family and everyone I know lives. To follow after Rose-san and the others also means to walk away from everyone I know. My friends, the people at the church, my family
I couldn’t bear to worry all of them. With that thought in mind, I readied myself.
Rose-san showed me her usual smile and patted my head.
“Well then, Sally-oneesama”
“Mm. See you later.”
Saluena saw Rose-san off with only a short farewell. Toslin and Carol gave out their own superfluous farewells before running off into the city where the cold, night winds had started to pick up.
“…….all right, should we go home?”
For a moment after the three of them left, I quietly stood alone inside the guild building. Then after thanking the woodcutters for the tea they made for me, I moved to go outside myself.
Saluena nodded, giving me a short, “Yes,” before following after me without saying anything else.