Section 4: Rumor
“Hyaamph———!!! Meat, the scent of meat!! Give me meat!!”
“You just got out of the hospital……ah jeez! Honestly, this idiot.”
As soon as we walked into the guild building, Carol got a whiff of some meat cooking on the grill and ran deeper inside. Toslin threw out her hand to try and stop her, but she was too slow. Carol had sewn herself through the throng of people and arrived at the counter before we knew it.
“Sorry, I don’t want her off on her own just yet, so I’m going ahead for a bit. Can you find us seats in the meantime?”
Toslin followed after Carol shortly after, forcing her way through to the other side of the room filled with pleasant chatter.
“Despite what she says, Toslin looks pretty happy.”
“Fufufu, indeed. Carol-san’s safety has left her in a very good mood.”
I feel the same way, but the nature of my feelings are probably different from hers. Watching Toslin’s retreating figure, that thought becomes keenly apparent.
“It’s really crowded in here considering the time.”
It is currently just a little past ten am. Most adventurers should already be out working on whatever requests they have, and the city’s carpenters have all been busy lately fixing up the city wall.
You might have the odd fellow strolling in for lunch here and there, but it’s weird to have this many people coming in this early. At least it’s not so hectic in here that we can’t find a table.
“Oi, look over there.”
“Oh, is that the rumored dragon slayer?”
“The story goes that she summoned a knight and chopped off its head with one attack.”
“Yeah, I heard that too. I also heard that the knight she summoned was that Hadion.”
“……seriously. That Hadion, the Dark Violet Knight straight from the legends? Does she really exist……..?”
Hm? I turned my head towards some voices I could hear just outside my field of vision.
I locked eyes with some adventurer looking people at a nearby table, causing them all to jump in their seats.
“I see, it seems we’re the reason why it’s so crowded in here.”
“Rumors of the dragon subjugation in Relton have finally spread, and adventurers from the surrounding area have gathered together.”
Now that I think about it, adventurers and merchants kept bombarding me with questions at the feast held in Relton after the dragon was defeated, and I ended up having to talk to a lot of different people.
“I heard she’s constantly coming in and out of this city’s church, and cleared away an army of a thousand ents in an instant.”
“Well I heard she caused the side of an entire mountain to explode. Did you see the strange-looking tree weirdly growing from one side of the mountain? She’s the one who caused that.”
“……um, the story’s getting awfully inflated……”
First of all there were only a hundred ents, not a thousand. And the side of the mountain didn’t get blown up.
“That’s how rumors are.”
“And is the part about you making a giant tree grow from the side of the mountain true?”
It’s true, but it was just an unseeable side effect. It’s not like I wanted all those trees to suddenly start growing.
I took off my coat after we found an empty table in one corner of the room. It’s been getting warmer and warmer with each passing day, so I start sweating pretty quickly now when I wear both my robe and a coat. I’m going to have to dig out my spring clothes from my closet before we go adventuring anywhere.
Somebody suddenly called my name as I was folding up my coat. I wondered if Toslin and Carol were already back when I turned around, but instead I found Peachseed-san standing at the end of the table whose dark skin made her stand out from the rest of the crowd.
“Ah, it’s been a while. Are you here for lunch too Peachseed-san?”
She was wearing a plain set of clothes this time instead of her usual armor. I figured she had come here for a quick bite to eat, but she shook her head.
“No, just taking care of some things for work. The highway isn’t closed anymore, so we were thinking about leaving town soon.”
“Is that, so…… I’ll be lonely.”
“You, are seriously a good person. Thinking about how we met, it’d be fine for you to insult me more you know.”
“Ahaha……I was certainly surprised by your harsh words at first, but now I understand that you were just saying what you had to because you were worried for me.”
“……R-Right…… But, back then I……was really awful. I should’ve thought more about what I was saying……and I know that now.”
Embarrassed by what she was saying, Peachseed-san turned her head away and tried looking anywhere besides at me. I could feel her sincerity there.
“You said you were leaving, but where do you plan on heading next?”
“Osnell…… That’s where we were originally heading before the heavy snowfall and that dragon left us stranded here while we were passing through……. Oh, and speaking of that dragon, I’ve been hearing people say you were the one who slew it, but is that true?”
“If I had to say then yes it’s technically true, but I wasn’t the only person there. Rose-san and Saluena were there, plus Toslin and Carol, and all the villagers in Relton helped fight too. We were all fighting for our lives and beat it together.”
I did my best to set the record straight, but Peachseed-san just laughed.
“…..You…..honestly are a good person.”
And then she repeated the same thing she had said before.
“Well I should get going. Thanks for beating that dragon. Also, excuse me for interrupting your pleasant chat.”
Her first words were geared towards me, but the next part was aimed towards Saluena and Rose-san instead.
“I don’t mind. There’s no harm in meeting like this. And your company always proves to be good nourishment for my master. Allow me to offer you my thanks for that.”
“May the Goddess offer her divine protection to you and your comrades.”
“……Thank you very much.”
Peachseed-san bowed her head deeply following Saluena’s words and Rose-san’s prayer.
“Then, until we meet again.”
“Right, you stand out, so I’m sure I’ll notice you the next time our paths cross.”
In the end, Peachseed-san and I shared a handshake before she went on her way.
After watching her head out of the guild building, I pinched a lock of my hair and spun it between my fingers in front of my eyes.
“Does my red hair really stand out that much?”
“…..I don’t believe that’s what that swordsman was talking about.”
“It’s just like Iris-san to make such a misunderstanding…..”
“H-Huh!? W-What do you mean?”
Saluena pulled a slightly exasperated look while Rose-san bemusedly nodded her head for some reason.
I didn’t understand what they were talking about, and the both of them just took a seat next to me, not saying anything more as I stared on in confusion.
“Why are you staring at your hair?”
“Ah, welcome back Carol. And Toslin……what, do you have there?”
Carol and Toslin suddenly came back without me noticing, but the both of them returned carrying a leather bag that they didn’t have before. They also had some rolled up parchment underneath their arms as well.
“Heh heh heh. As the senior adventurers, there’s something we need to teach you Iris.”
“As an adventurer, what is the most fun moment you can have!!”
“Um…….funnest moment? Let’s see…….eating a meal together with everyone around the campfire?”
“Sure sure, that’s good too. But it’s not the most fun!”
“Really!! This is the most fun!!”
Carol placed down the leather bag and pieces of parchment onto the table. I could hear several hard objects inside the bag jangling around as they hit the table. There was some text scrawled across the parchment. It was hard for me to read because she set it upside down, but it looked like a list.
“Sorry for my ignorance, but what is this?”
“No way…..how can you not know what this is…..”
“Because Iris is a pure soul unlike you. It’s our reward by the way. The one for completely the request.”
“Oh I see……”
It finally clicked for me when Toslin called it a reward.
“That reaction is so thin. Well whatever. Let’s divvy it up before our food gets here!”
Apparently we’ve received our payment for the primordial spirit subjugation quest which was triggered by that moaning.
And as such, Carol wanted to quickly get to work at splitting up the reward between us…….
——So, is there a reason why an enormous amount of jewels came tumbling out of that leather bag?