Section 8: Those who Wait
That morning, I arrived at the Warrior Guild’s reception desk the same time I did yesterday.
“Is that so? Then sorry, but do you mind if we wait for them today too?”
I sat down at a table with Saluena and waited for Toslin and the others to get here as well. But the looks I was getting from my surroundings were far more curious than they had been the day before.
“Hey. Isn’t that the girl from yesterday?”
“Yesterday? Oh, the girl who was friends with those orange rank adventurers.”
It looks like the presence of the orange rank adventurers Toslin and Carol along with the priestess Rose-san has been vividly scorched into the people here’s minds. As such, they did not hesitate to stab me with their questionable gazes as they wondered who I was to them.
“I’m pretty sure that’s Iris. You know, from that bookstore over in the shopping district…….”
One person was able to recognize me, so my name slowly started to spread through the rest of the building. Most of the people muttered a small, “Oh,” as an inkling of recollection came to their minds, but there were a couple of other voices mixed in as well.
“……what’s that kid doing here again? She’s probably just trying to get close to those adventurers.”
“If so, then you have to admire how bold she is. There’s no way I could ever do that.”
“Hold on, she can hear you both.”
“She looks like an ordinary village girl who probably doesn’t know any of the finer details about ranks. Somebody should go ahead and give her those details. Those adventurers live in a completely different world than her.”
“I said stop Peachseed¹.”
There were three female adventurers sitting at the table next to ours who were currently looking for their next job. Two of them with the same shade of dark brown skin were glaring at me with clear disgust.
For them, my being here was less than interesting. Since they’re people of the same business, they probably know about other people who’ve tried sucking up to high level adventurers. People who craved a connection more than anything else whether that connection be as fellow party members, friends, or even just getting to know them. So in their eyes, I probably look like a disgusting bug who doesn’t know her place.
“They’re late. They said they were going to prioritize investigating the inside of the mines today. Did they get lost?”
Saluena moved her body closer to me in an attempt to protect me from those malicious glares.
I skipped breakfast today because I wanted to eat with everyone. But nearly two hours have already passed, and none of them have stopped by.
The gazes of the people around me, especially those three adventurers, keeps becoming more and more severe. I could hear people bad-mouthing me with ridicule mixed mutterings from here and there, but I managed to shrug it off each time.
“Master, maybe you should get something to eat?”
I’m lucky Saluena is here with me. Without her, I probably wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in this place. Saluena calmly dismissed any ridicule, snide comments, or negative emotions that were thrown our way. Honestly, it was like she didn’t even hear them. Whenever I looked at her, I was able to calm down a bit.
“Y-Yeah…..but I think I’ll wait just a little longer. Oh, unless, are you hungry Saluena? If you want to eat something first……”
“If you’re going to wait, I’ll wait too. Food tastes better when you eat with someone else. Eating by yourself makes the food taste bland.”
Another hour passed. In the end, they never came. I asked the receptionist again just in case Carol had slipped in without us noticing her, but the answer was the same as it had been before. Toslin, Carol, and Rose-san hadn’t been back to the guild since leaving yesterday morning.
My stomach was screaming at me, so I ate something suitable along with Saluena. The food’s flavor didn’t leave a strong impression on me with the situation being what it is. However I did get the feeling it was a little heavy, just like what Rose-san had said yesterday.
And so we continued to wait.
As it got closer to lunchtime, the number of people along with the number of hateful gazes decreased, but…….they still hadn’t returned.
“Something must have happened out in the field if they still haven’t returned by now. We should head back for now and come back tomorrow morning.”
“Okay………you’re right. Let’s do that.”
Rose-san said they’d be back today. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling anxious because Rose-san she hadn’t returned like she said she would, but she’s a priestess and an adventurer with orange rank level skills. Plus Toslin and Carol are there with her, so I shouldn’t have that much to worry about.
But just as Saluena said, they must have found something or something must have happened to throw a wrench in their plans. Definitely.
“Oh, so, you couldn’t see them in the end. Those adventurers.”
I was on my way out of the building after leaving a message with the receptionist when an adventurer started talking to me. I don’t remember too well, but I think I recognize her face from the party of adventurers who were sitting at the table next to me this morning.
“I see, that’s a shame……. Um, I wanted to apologize to you for all the things my companions were saying about you. We’ve been stuck in this city for six months now because of the snow, and they’re just a little on edge.”
I thought she was going to say something mean to me, but that wasn’t the case.
“There hasn’t been any work for us because of all this snow, so we’ve had to eke out a living by acting as lumberjacks. And then those orange rank adventurers arrive in town……and I think they feel like their work has been taken from them. But they can’t complain to the adventurers themselves, so they’re trying to vent their frustrations on somebody who knows them……”
“I promise you they aren’t usually like that. So please don’t misunderstand……is probably too much for me to ask right? I’m sorry. Really sorry.”
“N-No…..everyone has their own circumstances.”
“Yes, but I could say the same thing about you too. So please, on their behalf, I am honestly, truly sorry.”
The adventurer gave me a deep bow before saying, “I hope you can meet with them,” and heading back towards the reception desk.
A beautiful woman with gray hair, blue eyes, and an overall pale complexion.
“I see……just like how I had to spend half a year in Rifront……”
“There are others who had a similar experience in this town.”
If I hadn’t met Toslin, Carol, and then Rose-san in Rifront. If I hadn’t met Charlie and Meltaria-san. What would I have done for the six months I was stuck there?
I would have spent every night crying to myself, talking about how I wanted to go home. My heart would have definitely grown rough, and I probably would be snapping at people too.
“However, you shouldn’t let that bother you Master. Other people’s worries are not your own. And in a case like this, naturally you would know nothing about the other person’s circumstances precisely because they are another person.”
Saluena rubbed my back to try and give me some encouragement. I left the guild building with that hand at my back, but there was one thing stuck to my brain that refused to let go.
“Those adventurers live in a completely different world than her”
I shrugged those words off at first. As time went on though, slowly but surely, they’ve gained weight like a cotton ball taking on water, and they now weigh heavy on my heart.
As afternoon rolled in, I made my way to the church and continued the research I had started the day before. Elzella-san and the other sisters had actually continued the search without me and had made some headway through the mountain of books. But still no clues have been found.
I was still worried about everyone, but I forced those worries out of my mind and focused myself entirely on the words printed out in front of me. But the day inevitably came to an end without finding a single clue.
I left the church, but before heading home, I returned to the guild one more time to check with the receptionist again. But my answer was the same as it had been before.
I told the receptionist I would return tomorrow morning before Saluena and I made our way home, dragging our long shadows behind us cast from the setting sun.
However tomorrow and even the morning after passed with Toslin, Carol, and Rose-san never coming back.
1. So this girl’s name in Japanese is actually Peachshizu which sounds an awful lot like Peach Seed. There’s another girl in the next chapter whose name is Plumshizu or Plum seed.
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