Good morning. Quite a refreshing morning we have today.
Yesterday I went straight to bed after meal, and it was morning the next thing I knew. Time just flew by. Just how fatigued I was.
Think I'm going with salad and french fries for breakfast...
Gotta make some snacks too.
After breakfast, I went and stocked up more foodstuff just in case.
I'll use up all the space I have in the refrigerator.
There's now enough to sustain Alma and me for one week easy, but who knows how long it's gonna take for this town to be back to normalcy after the Stampede, so might as well.
Also no telling if we're getting surprise visitors like yesterday.
There's some food from the guild provision we got, but most rations don't taste good...
People are distributing fliers and making announcements regarding the incoming Stampedes all over the town.
I did right shopping early. Even saw some stores closing up this morning.
My fund is finally starting to run dry. Can't hunt magic beasts in the forest since it's been closed off. I could easily gather more than 100 pieces of herbs if I tried though, guess that's what I'll do.
I can just imagine receptionist Neia-san's scream, but this is a time of emergency, forgive me.
And now we're currently heading to the guild carrying a heap of herbs.
I collected them from multiple spots, so the soil condition should be well kept. Hopefully.
I went through the usual swinging western door and headed for Neia-san's counter.
"Welcome! Are you here to deliver herbs!?"
She sounded high spirited, her frightened face was nowhere to be seen.
"Yes... Somebody's full of motivation today."
"I am! With Stampede day growing closer, getting as many herbs as we could will help saving the wounded when the time comes!"
She's doing her best to reduce casualties huh.
Her enthusiasm is obvious not just from her words but also gestures.
I can feel a strong determination from her, a far cry from her usual timid self. I might have underestimated her a bit.
It should be fine then no?
"Come at me with 50 or even 60 of them! I'll take care of it all!"
"Man, look at how dependable you sound. Then, here you go please."
Neia-san's face stiffened up when she saw the sack that gave out that noise as I dropped it on her counter.
I've gathered 173 pieces of herbs. Around five times the usual amount. Carrying them all the way here was quite the hassle.
"O-oh... I-is this all herbs...?"
"Yes. Please Appraise them."
Do your best, Neia-san. Bear with it, Neia-san.
Your hard work today will save the wounded tomorrow.
"...Hikaru, are you thinking something blase...?"
Alma stared hard at me.
...Okay, I'm sorry.
Tens of minutes later, she was finally done with the appraisal.
As for Neia-san... Her face has turned deadly pale. I'm sorry. Should have reduced that a bit.
"1-173 pieces in total, that will be 17,300 en..."
"O-okay. Thank you.... Will you be all right?"
"I don't want to hear that from you Kajikawa-san..."
"...My bad, for real. Ah, here's something for you."
"A-are there more of them...?"
Oh, don't be frightened now.
I took something a bit smaller than a fist wrapped in a thin paper.
"It's an apology for everything you've done for me. Sorry I could only offer a handmade snack though."
"S-snack..? Kajikawa-san, you can cook...!?"
"I do. This might sound presumptuous, but I'm confident in the taste, if you'd like."
"I-I'll take it! Thank you!"
Her near death face perked up at once.
She unwrapped the snack to reveal my handmade 'Rice Tart'.
A cream made of aro rice, milk and sugar poured on top of a tart base.
I can't find a substitute for vanilla unfortunately. Hope to find one some day.
I didn't know how to make tart at first, but after succeeding on charging my smartphone with a certain technique I devised recently, I managed to read recipes in it and cooked something akin to tart with the ingredients on hands.
Ah hey, she's eating already. Probably should go to the backyard first. I mean she's still on the clock. I don't mind personally, but the other people here...
"I-it's so good... so sweet... It must be a reward for all my hard work..."
She looks like she's really enjoying it. Glad it's palatable.
By hard work, I'm guessing it's my herb deliveries. It was hard huh... Sorry about that for real.
Once she was done eating, Neia-san had a look like she just recalled something. What up?
"Ah, right! A-almost forgot! I've been told to notify Kajikawa-san and Alma-san to head to the guildmaster's room when they come!"
"Why didn't you tell us that before you checked the herbs...?"
"...Please excuse me, my head is always full of herbs whenever I see Kajikawa-san coming to my counter..."
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
I mean that's what I usually do I guess...
"Okay then, we'll head there... Alma?"
She's looking at me like she's got something to say.
"Is that tart earlier on your mind? Worry not, I've made a few of them as today's snack."
Her expression brightened up a bit. Bull's eye huh.
Missing the candied sweet potato yesterday since I gave that to the old lady must have been quite a shock.
She could have just bought snacks instead of mine, oh right, they're too expensive.
You could buy lot of snacks for 100 en in Japan. Really drives home how blessed Japan is.
Write, write, write, write, write, write.
Sounds of writing brush echoed inside guildmas' room.
Looks like he's behind those literal stacks of documents on the desk. Can't see him from here though.
"There you are. Have a seat."
He sounded a bit, no, quite tired.
Has he been like this since we left yesterday? Hoping he's not gonna overwork himself to death.
We took seats on the nearby chairs and table.
Guildmas left his seat and sat down opposite of ours.
With a super tired looking face, he started talking.
"First of all, well done dealing with Dukeris and Lunatiara yesterday. Heard you supported their reunion with Almatina, treated them to a meal and even notified them about the Stampede."
"Oh I did nothing much... That was a tiring experience for sure, though nowhere as bad as guildmaster's."
"Had those two gone on a rampage due to a matter with their kid, the district might have not been spared. You really did well there, I'm serious."
Guildmas said that with a relieved look like he meant it.
Had no idea that interview was a matter of life or death.
I mean, why'd you leave dealing with those people to me alone, even if Alma was there. Oh right, they arrived here earlier than expected huh.
"They dropped by last night and spoke about you and Alma for an hour straight. One whole hour in this damn busy period."
"Um, I'm sorry."
"Don't you two worry about that. Spared us the trouble of calling them here to discuss about Stampede after all. They also asked a few favors from me."
"First, it's about the direct mana control you can use."
I thought those two can keep secret, they just went and exposed me?
"Don't make that face now. They told me that technique shouldn't be publicized, and I agree. Also told me, 'Evading the topic should be easy since our daugther's job is more unusual, but seeing as Kajikawa has an unknown Job with no Skills to speak of, it'll be quite a mess if somebody suspects him, so you come up with ways to help conceal it for him.' To think those two would go so far for somebody else besides their daughter, whom they just met the same day. They must really like you huh."
I want to hit the me who had the wrong idea of those two even for just a bit.
Can't believe they'd consult guildmas for me. I'm owing both Alma and her parents a huge debt. Gotta pay them back somehow.
For now, a thank you is in order. Thank you you two.
"I can never thank those two enough."
"Oh yeah, they'd like to eat the food you make again some day. Even Lunatiara said reproducing your food might be a tall order even with her Cooking skill. You sure you really don't got skills?"
"I don't even have the slightest idea how to learn one... Huh wait? Doesn't Lunatiara have a Combat Job, and yet she has Cooking skill?"
"Aah. Once you reach Level 50, you can learn one Skill unconditionally regardless of Job types. It's called a Gift Skill. There are exceptions to Skills you can learn though."
Wonder if I'm gonna get a Skill too once I reach that point... No, got a hunch that's not happening. I mean I can't even learn any.
"And so Lunatiara-san picked Cooking Skill. But won't it be bad to Production type Jobs with that kind of system in place?"
"The majority of people plateaued at Level 40 y'see. Cause of experience points and ages. Those two have been doing crazy stunts like leaping into Stampedes one after another or slaying dragons since they were in their twenties. With all that exp to go around, they're probably over level 70 by now."
They're really a cut above the rest huh... I feel sorry for the Stampede Boss now.
"Guess that's the Stampede Boss taken care of with two people that strong here."
"The boss, yeah."
"Hm? Is there going to be another issue besides the boss?"
"...After the public announcement regarding the Stampede, several low level adventurers have started evacuating. Well, challenging a Stampede beyond their capability is a fool's errand so I won't condemn them. But thanks to that, more and more adventurers also started taking shelter, which prompted other adventurers to follow due to lack of personnel. Thus a vicious circle was formed."
"By the way, how many adventurers are present now?"
"Around 100. Considering the team that will head into the forest to dispatch the boss, we can only expect around 90 to intercept the magic beasts raiding this town. Might decrease even more at this rate."
I don't think those two need a team, but then I'm reminded of the forest's vastness, searching the whole area for the boss would take too long with just those two.
"How many magic beasts have been predicted coming to raid this town?"
"Around 300 or so. The scale itself isn't that big, however, the huge discrepancy in numbers will make this a tough one. Not to mention the magic beasts coming from the sky, frankly, it's gonna be quite ugly."
"I'm guessing having Alma's parents deal with the raiding magic beasts before going after the boss is not a good idea either. Would be too much for those two to handle."
"That idea crossed my mind as well, but worst comes to worst, they might end up using all their strength to deal with the small fry, leaving none for the boss. Stampedes continue unabated until the Boss has been defeated."
What do then.
"That's where you come in. Kajikawa. Your power will be the key in this Stampede."
Eh, but I'm just a G-rank beginner.
Aren't you asking too much.
I mean look, this ain't no musou game, what hope do I have against 300 magic beasts?