Kay: 67 – 70 is MTL’d due to the previous TLer dropping us due to having too much on her plate. 71+ will be TLed as Mii recommended her friend to take over. However, to stay on schedule, I had the MTLer for Little Girl do the chapters up.
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A day after I returned from that delivery job, I hitched a ride on a patrol carriage from Barga to Miral Village, west of the city. It was still early in the morning when I arrived, and there were a lot of people headed in the same direction. Not only adventurers but also children. Don’t tell me they’re going to the same place…
When my stop came into view, the queue could be seen from the carriage already. There were many carriages moving between the two locations. Now, I was considering using my own vehicle; plenty of adventurers had their own horses anyways. But even if I stayed off the highway, I couldn’t guarantee I won’t be seen. So, I had no other choice but to hop in line.
With the closing of the labyrinth on the horizon, Lord Franklin Barga (Lord of Barga) had come as well. Currently, he was staying within the Miral Village Chief’s abode. This was mentioned by the skewer vendor I had met on the road. The village wasn’t the only place with an uptick in activity because of the festival, though.
A 2 hours’ ride by carriage to the west, there was the Emerald Demon’s Labyrinth camp. The place was still full of tents stretching through the forested road; filled with adventurers.
A large tent had also been prepared for visitors who couldn’t find any lodging within Miral. I too needed to secure lodging, as the sun was setting. I have to book myself a bed in a large tent before the sun went down. With so many people gathering in one place, naturally, the crime rate would rise. I saw fully armored knights passing by; probably on patrol between the village and the Labyrinth.
Simply speaking, the Harvest Festival was like, well, a festival. Lanterns illuminated the street sides and houses along the forested road; just like a carnival. Apparently, this was how the night portion of the festival went. There also were other large tents. These ones acted as taverns or restaurants instead of makeshift lodging. I came to wonder if the people working at the restaurant sent their menu here. I had noticed some of the dishes served were authentic menu items.
There were also tents for the children. I peered into a tent where, I think, a play was being performed. Who knew that, among these tents built for those to conquer the labyrinth, some were meant for creative plays? Some performed puppetry shows. The puppeteer controlled a cat beastman doll deftly, it was killing a goblin-like monster doll. Could that be Mitche-san?
Drawn in by my curiosity, I watched the show alongside the parents and their children. The story was of a lord’s daughter who’d gone to challenge the labyrinth with her companions; conquering the labyrinth and brilliantly reaching its core… Tsk… I wasn’t in the play though… Well, I guess they’re just being creative, nothing wrong there. But then, I saw that a few dolls looked like the Rafflesia Knights, and yet, not me…
Was it that unexpected? Of course, it’s not unexpected, right?
I paid the fee after the show was over and headed down the road. I caught a whiff of liquor mixed with food, and the sound of people cheering and laughing. Was that the sound of a musical instrument? I heard something akin to a melody coming from somewhere.
In this world, a successful labyrinth subjugation was a happy occasion; even I could feel it. Meanwhile, delicious scents sneaked into my nostrils. This reminded me of how hungry I was. Looking for something to eat, I went to check on several of the tents that acted as restaurants.
“Ah! Schwartz, nya~!”
I heard someone call my name from a tent, the fragrant smell of grilled fill came from it.
“Ah-! If it isn’t Schwartz, nya! Here, come ‘ere!”
The ones who called out to me turned out to be Sasanqua’s Mitche-san and Marinda-san. Ruu-san was also sitting with them. Ruu-san didn’t say anything, nor did she have any particular expression on her face. She only simply gestured for me to come over with her hand.
“It’s been a while. Never thought that you’d show up here of all places.”
The table they sat on at four chairs. Since one was vacant, so I decided to take the seat. Meanwhile, Ruu-san was banging the table with her hand. Was she already drunk or something?
I couldn’t care less about that, I was too hungry. So, I simply sat down. The waitress came to take my order soon after. Apparently, this was one of those tents run by a well-known restaurant that sent their men specifically for the festival. Beverages ranged from liquor to fruit juice. But since I didn’t want anything weird, I settled a few plates and ale to sate my hunger; I gave the waitress some silver coins as payment.
“Nothing less from Schwartz, nya. I would be surprised if you ordered fruit juice, nya.”
“I notice that Schwartz has arrived a bit late here! Where have you been?”
Malinda-san raised a large wooden mug, filled to the brim with ale. She downed the contents all at once.
“Eh, I went to the capital. Explored the Wolves’ Labyrinth.”
“But those wolves are boring!”
“That’s no good, nya. Nobody has found the path to go deeper than the 21st floor, nya. It’s a labyrinth with too much fighting, but too little treasure, nya. Best you can get, nya, is just collecting some magic water, nya.”
I always had this slight feeling that the Wolves’ Labyrinth wasn’t too popular… I rarely saw another Adventurer while diving there. So that was the reason.
“But you can make a decent amount of money from the magic water, right?”
“Magic water doesn’t sell that high! Not only is there a limit to the tool bag; going there to collect some feels nothing like conquering a labyrinth. Only a coward would do a stupid thing like that.”
I-I see… Let’s avoid mentioning I made my money by collecting that magic water then…
The waitress arrived with my order in the meantime. Thus, I joined the others in enjoying the dinner. We also chatted about the festival; how the Emerald Demon Labyrinth was slowly closing in, being engulfed by the void.
It was estimated to close completely in three days. By then, a ceremony would be held at the Labyrinth’s entrance. In addition to that, Barga’s City Lord would give a speech to praise Sasanqua for retrieving the labyrinth’s core. It would also be the official appearance of the three daughters of Lord Barga. Mainly Lapitilica-sama; as a member of Sasanqua.
“And this harvest festival will also end then.”
Mitche-san, with a lonely expression, jokingly said.
— × —
The next day, I found myself in the Sasanqua Clan’s tent. We had dinner together and took our time with merry conversation while enjoying drinks. When we finally left the tent, it had been too late in the night to return to the lodging tent. I was prepared to go without sleep, but fortunately, Mitche-san invited me to spend the night in the clan’s tent. So I got to sleep.
In the tent, I met some of their other members for the first time, who immediately spirited Mitche-san away from me. I was then directed back to the spot I had slept.
“You were such a bully yesterday, nya.”
“You’re the one who brought a guy in!”
Only now did I remember that Sasanqua was a female-only clan. So, maybe bringing a male in was some sort of taboo? I felt bad for staying the night here. After giving a quick morning greeting and a thank you to Mitche-san; who was being scolded by the others. I hastily left the tent.
Speaking of which, Malinda-san and Ruu-san went to the village chief’s abode last night. It seemed that their job as Lapitilica-sama’s escort was still going on.
Although it was for drinking, I washed my face with the water from the water bottle, After feeling refreshed, I walked toward the entrance of the Labyrinth. The bustling noise of last night was gone. Replaced by the shouts of people wanting to get into the Labyrinth; vendors also offered breakfast or tools for exploring. Then I heard it.
“How about a Labyrinth bento box~! Thank you very much~!”
It was the voice of the bento box vendor from Marida Company. Somehow, that voice sounded familiar to me… The stall was situated near the entrance. It was a fairly wide space, and apparently, they were also buying non-attribute stones on the side. Marida company’s priority was to buy as many of them as possible. This was the only place they were sold after all. Aside from buying those and selling the bentos, they were also collecting salmon for the bentos.
There was already a long queue at the stall. The line mostly consisted of regular parents, their children, workers, and even some adventurers. Apparently, the bento had become popular by word of mouth. I also queued up and waited for my turn while watching the sales. It seemed that a good result had been achieved during this test run. But there were worries over how it’d fare after the festival.
When my turn came, I finally got a look at the vendors. As I thought, it was Amy and Pricilla, dressed in cute aprons. Of course, they didn’t know I was Shaft. I ordered a box, listened to their explanation on how to get a discount by submitting salmon. The explanation was short and easy to understand. It seems like we can expect to collect some profit from this.
Malta-san said that, eventually, they’ll find a way to make a cheaper disposable paper box. In the end, I couldn’t tell how high this world’s technology level was. It was because of their technology revolving around mana and magic stones, which was beyond my knowledge. But it was still faster than I expected. It was also fun to watch how the technology and standard of living in this world steadily improve.
I was living a pretty happy life now.