18-33. A Boy in Labyrinth City (7)
"What, what do you mean by terrible?"
I asked the roughly breathing Zaki.
"It's a burglary! Our room's been roughed up!"
According to Zaki, he found our room all messed up when he came back to fetch some writing apparatus for his work.
"Did you notify the guard?"
We went to the guard garrison with our baskets still on our back.
We got lost on our way there and asked someone for directions only to find out the garrison was in the exact opposite direction, so it took some time but we got there somehow.
"Not again. Well, I'll go inspect the site at least."
The middle aged guard sighed as he received our report.
According to the guard as we led him there, broke rogue explorers would often target explorer lodge house where rookie explorers still lacking in senses of alertness stay.
"You're kidding me! Then do something about it!"
"Well we do have people patrolling the area..."
They could only catch those caught in the act since there were no evidence.
"This is our room."
Zaki unlocked the door.
A very simple type of lock.
"Well dang, this is the work of a pro fer' sure."
The guard spoke as he surveyed our room.
I peeked from behind his bulky back and saw it myself.
"This is awful."
"Tell me about it."
Our bags that were put on the wall shelves have been thrown on the floor with the content scattered around.
After getting permission from the guard, we picked up our belongings.
My underwear and my favorite cup and spoon are full of sands.
"Sharon, you have your name written on your personal belongings?"
I affirmed Rasa's question.
"Knowing which one's yours is a good idea when you live with other people."
I did my best to write them as my little sister taught me.
"Dyes are pretty expensive though."
Zaki looked amazed as he said that.
My lil' sis got them on her own somehow along with other stuff as usual, so I never asked about price.
Gotta make sure I buy a lot of gifts for her for homecoming.
"So, do you know what's missing?"
Asked by the guard, we reported the stolen items.
All the ant short spears we got from Akindo-san are gone. Other than that, I lost a whetstone, Rasa an extra towel while Zaki a notebook and a pen.
We have no idea about Gon's and Keros's since they're not here. Since they took their equipment with them into the dungeon, they should still have their ant short spears at least.
"I see. Those burglars prolly won't come back once they find you folk got nothing noteworthy on ya, still take your cash and important items with you whenever you leave your room from now on."
The guard gave that warning and left after he was done with his inspection.
We dusted off Keros's and Gon's belongings before putting them on top of the table.
"Let's get back to work."
"Well, I guess there's no point in waiting for Gon and Keros anyway."
"I'll write a message for them."
There's a small message board on the wall for notifications, Zaki wrote there for the two.
Gon can't read, but Keros should be able to.
"Okay, should be no problem even if we miss each other now."
We went back to our work.
Due to the burglary commotion, we had one less trip to transport Beria leaves than yesterday.
I took a bath with Rasa before going back to our lodging, outside, we heard a shout coming from inside the room.
"You guys stole it!"
Keros' hysterical voice.
As well as Zaki's voice giving an explanation.
I opened the door to resolve the misunderstandings.
Zaki came flying at me. I couldn't catch him, we both fell down the ground. From the view over there, I see that Gon just knocked Zaki off his feet.
"Gon! No violence!"
I got up and protested to Gon.
"SHADDUP! You fellow thief keep your trap shut!"
"We didn't steal them! A burglar broke in the empty room!"
I dodged Gon as he came at me and punched his full of opening face back.
He kicked back at me. I managed to dodge somehow, but I got caught on his swinging arm and got blown to the wall.
You damn brute!
"Give me back my money!"
"Not my problem!"
Keros jumped in from the side and grappled my waist.
"Now, Gon! Do it!"
Zaki hurled himself at Gon as he lifted a chair high.
Gon swung down his clenched fist at Zaki.
I shook Keros off and grappled Gon.
"--Cool it down."
We were hit by water as Rasa said that.
"What's with all the noise, guys?"
Just as we were about to start round two all drenched, that tired voice stopped us.
It was Shina.
"Did a burglar snuck into this room too?"
"Your room too, Shina?"
"Yup, not just our rooms, but almost all rooms in this lodge fell victim too."
Shina was furious for having her change of clothes and accessories stolen.
"See now? We're not responsible for it."
I glared at Gon and Keros.
"I-I won't accept it!"
Gon snorted and turned away but Keros acted like he was still doubting us, seemingly too proud to back down now.
"Keros-kun, what did you lose?"
"Gold coin! The gold coin I hid in the bottom of my bag got stolen!"
I can't recall even seeing a silver coin in my village.
Think that's worth 100 copper coins.
"No way, that's bad."
"It is bad! Very much so!"
Shina had her hand over her mouth while Keros got heated up.
"Why don't you go to the guard garrison then?"
Opposite to the desperate Keros, Zaki spoke coldly.
"We've asked them to inspect our room, telling them our lodge location and room number should help."
Keros ran out of the room.
Zaki whispered, 'Don't think they're gonna find the gold coin though.'
Looks like he's still mad about getting accused as a burglar.
"Gon, don't you have something to say?"
"Shut up! I ain't gonna apologize!"
Rasa went to soothe Zaki, but I couldn't get Gon to even apologize.
Shina sneakily left the room, unable to bear the heavy atmosphere. I left the room as well to thank her for resolving the misunderstandings.
"Shina, thanks for clearing things up."
"Ehehe. See you again, Sharon."
Shina left afterward.
After a bit, Keros came back with dejected shoulders.
Must have been made to face reality at the garrison.
"Keros! Quit mopping around already! We're gonna become real explorers tomorrow!"
"A gold coin is a chump change then! 'Fter all we're gonna be real official explorers, not some wooden badge small fry!"
"Y-yes we are! We're gonna be real explorers!"
Keros got into it as Gon whacked his back.
Afterward, they kept talking about how each of them managed to get three magic cores by having Gon block goblins with a giant shield he borrowed from the leader, then Keros and Shina delivering the killing blow even though we never asked.
With the cores we got together from before, they only need one more to officially become explorers.
"Aren't you envious~"
"You are, say it like you are."
Keros kept pestering Zaki.
"Gon-kun, Keros-kun, we should head off now."
Shina peered from the door.
"Oh yeah, almost forgot."
"Hehe! We're getting treated for dinner today too! Ain't it nice!"
Gon and Keros left the room with triumphant looks.
Unlike yesterday, they've got their equipment on them.
"I told you I'm not envious."
"Yeah. Let's have a meal too."
As I soothed Zaki who grumbled at the door Keros' group left, I invited Rasa to eat at the square from yesterday.
"A croquette please!"
I was planning to have the same menu as yesterday, but I couldn't resist ordering croquette instead after looking at the signboard. Zaki and Rasa too.
"This is really good."
"Yup, you just can't resist trying this out after seeing that signboard."
Looks like Zaki and Rasa had the same experience.
"Yep yep, isn't that right."
Someone was nodding as they said that.
"That's the work of Master Painter Tama, that particular piece is the 『Dancing Croquettes』. Those who laid their eyes on it will be captivated by the deliciousness, craving for croquettes."
The familiar looking plump knight was one of the knights who saved us before.
He was munching down on croquettes while ordering more as he talked.
"Didn't you get in the dungeon to beat the 『Floor Master』?"
"I'm here to resupply and deliver our reports to the guild."
Confessing he used the opportunity to eat up at the stalls as well, his hobby.
"Luram-dono, so there you are."
I turned to look at the clear voice to see my object of yearning, Princess Mitia. She's as beautiful as ever.
I straightened my posture and greeted her.
That was embarrassing. I was so nervous I stuttered.
"You're that kid from before I see. Have you been working hard?"
"I have! Oh um, I mean--No. I'm still waiting for the course, I haven't gone back in the labyrinth."
"Do not think bad of it noja. Aren't you earning your keep in the town to feed yourself? You can take pride in that."
Princess Mitia patted my head with her white gloved hand.
I'm never washing this head of mine again.
--Cleanse it! Rom-niisan, dirtiness is the first step to illness!
My lil' sis's voice resounded in my head.
Guess I gotta do it.
"Let us be off, Luram-dono. Well then, stay healthy until next time."
"Yes! Mitia-sama, may fo-fo-fortune be with you!"
Princess Mita left while dragging Luram by hand.
"Sharon, you're huffing."
Rasa curtly said that before walking to another stall.
After seeing Zaki with an ogling look on his face next to me, I realized my own state and frantically tried to restore my expression.
Please don't mind me grinning if I lose focus. I didn't really hate myself despite being conscious of my state of mind.
We came back after our meal, Gon and Keros were still out until late at night, dead drunk.
"Keros-sama has made his return! Pay your tribute to hero in the making Keros-sama!"
Sheesh, these drunkards.
Gon rolled Keros on his makeshift bed before falling on his own and quickly falling asleep. That's fine and all, but I wish he'd stop snoring so loud the people in the room next door kicked the wall.
Rasa couldn't stand it anymore as he got up and put a wet towel in Gon's mouth to somehow stop it. Zaki pointed out how dangerous that could be then he thanked Rasa and went back to sleep. I should get some too. Gotta get up early tomorrow.
The following day, I went back from running and washing up to find Gon and Keros gone.
"What's up with those two?"
"To a house their seniors live in they said. They're gonna work with that party from now on."
Rasa concisely replied me while Zaki gave the full picture.
Looks like Shina is also with them.
"Guess they got the head start."
"No worries. Not like we're competing for first place anyway."
I encouraged the disappointed Zaki.
"But we lost three people."
"Oh yeah. We can recruit members at the beginner course."
We might have parted ways with Gon and Keros, but there's no shortage of rookie explorers.
I kept doing the daily labor with Zaki and Rasa until the beginner course while imagining our yet unseen new members.
I couldn't gather enough money to buy another short spear but I plan to do something about it before the end of the course.
"Alright, let's do this!"
I'll learn everything I need to learn in the beginner course and soaked up in all the knowledge needed to dive in the labyrinth!
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"This looks to be the place."
"That's a lot of people."
We went to an open space slightly away from the guild.
This is where the beginner course will be held.
Normally they do it in the training ground behind the guild building, but they need a bigger space during this season due to the influx of newbies, so Zaki told us.
As I wandered around while surveying the surroundings, I bumped into someone.
"Hey watch it!"
A ratkin boy wearing a red helmet is angrily leaping up and down.
They seem to be a species with small statures, the tip of his hat only gets to my waist.
"Is that how one acts toward this Neze-sama, the offspring of warrior Mize!"
"My bad. I wasn't looking ahead."
I apologized since it really was my fault.
"Ou! You're forgiven! Are you here to take beginner course?"
"Sure am. I'm Sharon."
"So you are, Sharon! I shall make you my retainer!"
"I'm not going to be one, but I don't mind doing the course together with you."
Since the boy turned out unexpectedly good natured, I invited Neze after asking Rasa and Zaki.
"Ou! Let's go!"
Neze raised his fist up then ran out without looking ahead, bumping into someone in the process.
That was probably how it went with me too.
"Hey watch it!"
The other party is a beastkin two heads taller than me.
Bigger than even the big Gon
The beastkin--a dogkin with long fur looked around with his hazy eyes, noticed the leaping Neze and slowly lowered his head.
"Ou! I'll forgive you!"
"Thank you, I'm Tegu."
"I am Neze the great-owawawawa."
The beastkin who called himself Tegu lifted Neze up and put him on his shoulder.
"This is fine! What a fine view indeed!"
I never had a beastkin friend before, they seem to be quite the amicable bunch, appearance be deceiving.
I bumped into another person while looking up at them.
Sure a lot of bumping today.
"It's okay, I wasn't looking myself."
The person hiding their face under a hood spoke in a low voice, but it's a girl.
Her eyes I caught a glimpse are the beautiful color of amethyst-like purple, same as my little sister's hair.
The girl seemingly intend to avoid people, she's trying to leave with a fast gait while looking down.
I ended up grabbing the girl's arm by reflex.
I don't know why myself.
I just feel like I can't let her be alone.
"I'm Sharon. If you're here for the course, would you like to take it together with us?"
"It's fine, I'm alone can--."
"So you're fine with it! Good! Let's introduce you to the others! What was your name again?"
I joined up with Rasa's group while still gripping the girl's hand.
The girl was resisting at first, but she's seemingly given up midway, she's following behind me while hiding her presence now.
"Those taking the beginner course, gather round! We won't take roll-call, so gather where my voice reaches you!"
A tired sounding voice of a grown up echoed.
That person is probably our instructor.
"--Japanese katana? I had no idea samurais exist in this world."
Japanese katana? Saurai?
Lachesis blurted something my little sister would have said.
Come to think of it, her atmosphere does feel alike.
Is that why I couldn't leave her alone?
"Stop talking and listen! Your work today is to memorize every single word I utter!"
The instructor shouted.
All to become a genuine explorer!
◆◆◆At a certain village◆◆◆
"Something you want to ask me, Reina-san? What would that be?"
I asked Akindo-san after we were done with business talk.
"What is your objective?"
"Objective, is it?"
Akindo-san tilted his cordial-looking face.
"Please don't return my question with a question. What is your goal making business of equal standings with a child like me? Money, can't be it, can it? The objects I have are nothing of highly particular value. Not enough for you go out of your way here."
Or am I wrong? As I looked up at Akindo-san.
"I am no match for you, Reina-san."
Akindo-san took a 'give up' pose as he said that.
"So will you tell me? What is your objective?"
I kept pushing Akindo-san without missing a beat.
"My objective is--"
Akindo-san paused for a bit there.
"--Is you, Reina-san."