I’m going to be a lot less busy in the future because of Covid-19, but for now, I’m swamped with all the people calling me to cancel reservations. How ironic.
Section 9: Three Adventurers
It is now the fourth morning since since Toslin, Carol, and Rose-san left to explore those ruins, and they still haven’t returned.
My sleepless night was spent praying at my bedside, waiting for the early morning sun to rise. Once light finally began to break over the horizon, I threw on my coat and dashed towards the door.
“Onee-chan!? Where are you off to in such a hurry!?”
Sarah’s head poked out from a window on the second floor, but I wasn’t going to stop my feet.
“Guild!! Sorry Sarah!! I’ll explain later!!”
Right now, I’m not worried about whether or not the cobblestone road is slippery from frozen melted snow. I need to get to the guild building right this second and check. Has anyone come back yet?
“No, they…..still haven’t returned………”
The receptionist’s words echoed in my ears, and for a moment, everything went black. Saluena grabbed me before I could fall over and helped me over to a stool.
“No way…….it’s already been three days…….”
Even Saluena had started looking concerned after yesterday morning. But thinking I hadn’t noticed, she tried to hide that face while continuing to encourage me.
“….they should be back by now”
But after three days and still no word, she couldn’t even try to hide her worry anymore.
“The guild is still trying to get confirmation, but most likely they’re still inside the ruins. And unfortunately there are no other adventurers in the city right now who are strong enough to go looking for them……so even receiving that confirmation is looking unlikely. I’m sorry, but there’s nothing more we can do.”
“N-No…….I’m sorry for dropping in like this day after day…….”
I’m just thankful the guild hasn’t given up on confirming their safety. Of course people are going to shy away when orange rank adventurers suddenly don’t return from some ruins. And the guild itself would be foolish to send in lower rank adventurers to a place they already know is dangerous.
“Iris. Let’s rest for now. You didn’t get any sleep last night, and are probably tired after running all the way here like that.”
“Y-Yeah…… Y-You’re right…..”
Saluena helped me to my feet, supporting my body as we moved to some nearby chairs and allowing me to take a deep breath to try and calm myself down.
“Hey, you, quit being so thoughtless.”
With those words, the foot of my chair was lightly kicked twice.
“You must have a lot of free time coming to the guild day after day. Don’t you have a job?”
Looking up, there was a dark skinned woman with shoulder length black hair wearing leather armor standing in front of me. She looked like she was about my age or else just a little older.
Standing behind her was another woman with a deep scowl on her face who looked like she was the first woman’s companion. This woman was wearing a robe, but she had the same color skin and hair. The both of them also had the same light pink colored eyes, so they were probably sisters or something.
“I know. You’re waiting for those powerful adventurers right?”
The woman wearing armor let out a deep sigh as I nodded my head. Her almond-shaped eyes narrowed even further creating a sharp glare that cut right through me.
“Your thoughtlessness is seriously an eyesore. I’m an adventurer who has to use this place to do my job. But each and every single day you come in here, sitting there doing nothing, and get in other people’s way……”
“I, I’m sorry……I didn’t mean to…..”
I quickly tried to stand up, but my knees laughed at my effort as my body started to fully feel the fatigue from my running here. Seeing me, the woman let out another sigh before continuing on with a harsh, reproachful tone.
“Then what were you trying to do? Do you want to brag to your friends about how you’re close to some powerful adventurers? How shameless. I suggest you quit now because that kind of thing is what adventurers hate the most.”
“Y-You’re wrong, I just needed to tell them something……”
There’s been a terrible misunderstanding here. But from an objective point of view, I think it’s natural that she would come to this kind of conclusion. So I opened my mouth to clear up the misunderstanding, but considering a weak-willed girl like me has trouble talking at the best of times, I end up tongue-tied and unable to say what I want.
“Okay. Then I’ll tell them for you. Then you don’t have to come back here anymore. How about it? Doesn’t that sound like a good solution? Or you could even write them a letter. I promise to give it to them. If you don’t know how to write, I could always write it for you instead.”
The woman crossed her arms, not even trying to hide her annoyance. Her companion standing behind her was the same……no, she looks a little different. With the way she’s furrowing her brow, rather than being irritated, it looks like she’s embarrassed to be here?
I was curious, but I shook my head and banished the thought. If I can’t communicate my thoughts well enough, I need to at least make it clear where I stand on this.
“Thank you very much for your kind offer. However, I will tell them myself once I see them.”
“You’re • not • getting • it! I’m saying you need to stop this! You say you understand, but those orange rank adventurers are way more amazing than you think. You and them live in completely different worlds!”
Ah, I remembered. I had heard an adventurer say, ” Those adventurers live in a completely different world than her,” that first morning when Toslin and the others didn’t return.
I dredged up the memory from a few days ago and matched the face of that adventurer to the one in front of me. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s the same person. There aren’t many people with dark colored skin this far north, so her face stands out.
“Hey…..Peachseed!! Didn’t I tell you to apologize!? Then why does it almost sound like you’re threatening her!?”
How should I get these people to understand, no, maybe it’d be better if I just ignored them and moved to a corner rather than try to explain……..just as I was thinking that, a voice rose up from a table further in the back.
“I-I wasn’t really threatening her or anything! But she looks really pitiable coming here every day in the cold, so I thought I would offer to pass the message on for her!”
The owner of the voice was the adventurer who spoke to me in front of the guild four days ago. Her gray hair and blue eyes are really striking, so her face stood out to me.
That person was stomping her way over here. With each step, the two dark skinned women shrank back as if a dragon was advancing upon them.
“You too Plumseed. I told you this morning. If you don’t apologize to her, I’m not going to party up with you both anymore.”
“P-Please wait!! I-I was going to apologize. But then Peachseed couldn’t keep quiet, and I couldn’t find the moment to say it, and…….”
“Eh, it’s my fault!?”
“Yeah, it’s your fault! I’ve been keeping quiet because you said you wanted to apologize before me……..”
So in other words, the woman in the robe really was embarrassed to be standing there? But she kept standing there because she wanted to apologize to me?
“Standing here will only serve to inconvenience the other patrons. So we should either wrap up this matter quickly, or move it somewhere else.”
While I was having trouble keeping up with how the situation was developing, Saluena’s voice cut through without any fear.
And it was at that moment that both them and I noticed how we were blocking the way. So the woman called Peachseed pointed at a chair next to me.
“H-Hey……can I sit here?”
“Oh, um……go ahead. Rather, it’s not my chair, so you and Plumseed-san are free to sit wherever you like……..”
“R-Right, well then, as long as you’re okay with it……..”
……so before I could make heads or tails of what was actually going on here, all five seats at my table were taken up by me, Saluena, and the three adventurers.