After chatting with Malta-san and the others, I received the letter promised by Malta-san to show to their merchant ship in Amar before I left for the General Guild’s museum. I asked the Librarian there whether they’d gotten any word from Remi-san. They confirmed that they were instructed to purchase my map in secret.
I managed to sell the labyrinth map and I now had my travel money. I could have come as Shaft and received a larger reward but I didn’t want to leave any trace that Shaft had been here. So, I decided to claim the reward another time. On the way out, I took a peek at the guild’s main building. Many adventurers had gathered around the board, peeling requests off and heading towards the receptionist area. A quick look there, and I exited the building.
The requests seemed to be piling up. Probably just quests to exterminate the labyrinth’s monsters. The remaining being inside needed to be vanquished quickly so the non-combatants could enter safely. There was, of course, one month until it would die.
Even if it was only 25 floors, mining it would take considerable time. Using human wave tactics, the cleaning would probably be over by January. Then, the labyrinth would begin to crumble after that month-long grace period, starting from the bottom. It was also imperative that they cleaned up the 20 and below levels as that was where the magic water was. \
Not only was Barga’s workers becoming busy but even people would come from the capital. Following last year’s festival, the Emerald Demon, the boom still continued. Thinking about how bright the future would be for the city, I went to the carriage post near the main gate. I was ready to leave now.
First, I would leave Barga and head toward the Royal Capital in three days. From there I would go on my own – either by walking or driving one of my vehicles. It’s not possible to travel the entire journey via carriage from Barga. That was because, in order to go south, there were a few mountains I had to cross. One could cross them by hiring a dedicated carriage or by simply walking. But, you’d need another carriage once on the other side.
It was said that if you started traveling to the south right now, you’ll only arrive there by February. This was because of the mountains, compounded by the need to change carriages several times. But I wanted to cut this time down to only a month, though I’d have to check the terrain first as I only planned to use vehicles at night on flat roads.
I boarded the carriage and left Barga in the afternoon. I wondered when I would visit again… By the way, Malta-san said that he would also head over to Amar to see the situation once the Harvest Festival was over. I guess I’d meet that person once again then. Duke Barga, the General Guild’s staff, and the landlady of the White Flower passed through my mind as I looked at the retreating fortress walls. I’d be back again one day. See you all until then.
Midnight had fallen as I drove my LAV down a dark road. This LAV was similar to the ones used by the JDF and many other military forces. It had an extra seat where a machine gun could be mounted, so it could fit up to 5 people. Unfortunately, this version did not come with a built-in weapon. I had thought about using the KLR250, then reconsidered after remembering that traveling long distances on harsh terrain would only make it hard on me. Therefore, I used this instead.
But because the engine was a bit loud, I had to make a detour every time I came across any rest area – – –
When dawn approached, I returned the LAV back into the garage before continuing my journey on foot. Moving through the night in the LAV had cut down my travel time by a considerable amount. I was nearing the town at the foot of the mountain as I planned to stop there before crossing the mountains.
After walking up down the highway from dawn to noon, the town had finally entered my sight. Surrounding it was a one and a half meter tall. At the gate, 2 guards stood watch in a similar fashion to the capital.
“Halt! Are you an adventurer? If you are, can I please have a look at your card?”
When I reached the gate, one of the guards asked for my ID. While I presented it for inspection, I told them that it was just a visit and entered town. By the way, I’d been taking short naps inside the LAV during the journey here, so I planned to stay overnight here to have a proper rest.
The town had an atmosphere about it that said this was a quiet worker town. Houses were lined along the road and I asked a passerby about an inn and food. I also took a look at whichever shop caught my interest as I headed towards the inn.
It felt like I was sightseeing. Veneer and the Capital, with their large stone buildings, were interesting, but this town provided a different kind of enjoyment.
A little ways more, I saw the inn I’d been directed too. It was still high noon so I’d be able to sleep before the tavern got too noisy. Pushing open the doors, which reminded me of a wild-west movie, I went inside —–
“So — expensive! Why is it so expensive! Is it because I’m a lone woman?!”
“I already told you, miss. Many many times already even. The singles are fully booked. Only the twin rooms are left now.”
“I. told. You. too! I’m going to stay there on my own, but why did you charge me for two!”
“And I already told you that the problem is not the number of people but the size of the room. If you want to complain, feel free to go to another inn.”
“Here is the only one with an available room!”
“Well then, if you can’t pay then there’s nothing I can do for you.”
When I entered the tavern, I saw a woman arguing with the man across the bar counter. The proprietor here was probably the man she was arguing with. He looked like the typical bartending uncle whose muscled body strained the shirt and vest he wore. The one yelling was a female human with knitted red long hair and faced away from me so I couldn’t see her face. But from her voice, I would guess that she was at least in her mid-teens.
The proprietor seemed to have noticed when I entered.
“Welcome, the tavern isn’t open yet, or are you here to book a room?”
“Yes, is there any left?”
Perhaps noticing my arrival finally, the girl turned around. She was indeed young, around six or seventeen. She had a fair countenance with acorn-like eyes. Perhaps an adventurer as she wore light armor and easy to move in clothes.
“Only a twin room if you’re okay with that. It’s our last room by the way.”
“Yes, for one night please.”
“Wa-wa-wa-wa-wait a minute here~!”
Our talk was interrupted as we both turned to the girl.
“Hey, you! I was planning on staying in that room! How come you just waltzed in and stole it like that?!”
“Well, miss, another person booked that room now, so you better go to another establishment instead.”
“I already told you that the other rooms are already booked! At this rate… Hey you! It’s a twin room, so there should be an extra bed, right? I’ll pay half the expense, so let me stay in that room!”
I heard the sound of whistling air and turned to see that it was the girl’s finger pointing right at my face.
“I don’t mind but are you okay with that? Does this inn still guarantee your safety if you spend a night with a stranger here?”
“It’s alright. I’m a C ranked adventurer, Sharle. If you try to attack me while I’m asleep, I’ll kill you.”
“D Ranked Adventurer, Schwartz. No need to bother trying to kill me. I’m here to get some sleep.”
“Customer, are you sure?”
“It’s only for one night. I’ll be off very early in the morning. The tavern also provides food, yes?”
“Ah, yes. Orders start at 6 pm. It’ll be a bit noisy by then, but please excuse us for that.”
“Very well. Until then, I’ll just rest in my room. Sharle, I’m going to get some sleep, so don’t you go attacking me, okay?”
“Who, who, who is going to attack you!”
Sharle became red-faced as she threw a tantrum while pointing at me as I teased her. I paid the fee and received a key from the proprietor. I simply ignore the noise coming from the girl beside me. We were just sleeping for the night, so there shouldn’t be a problem. For now, I’ll sleep until dinner time. Leaving the cursing redhead, I headed to my room.