Celebration Party, Formed Party
The stampede combat is over.
The guild's staff members are in charge of cleaning up the monsters' bodies and collecting materials, rewards will be distributed after confirming Kill Logs later.
People who have defeated magic beasts carrying powerful equipment can take them with them right away. Some people got into scuffles over who defeated which monsters but in most cases, the ones delivering the killing blows had the right of ownership so disputes didn't last long.
Can't believe they still had energy to fight after all that. Some lively bunch for sure.
I went straight to the guild office before I got dragged into the post-battle mess.
Then I returned the rental items and went back to my inn.
There's going to be a celebration party sponsored by the guild tonight. I'm not going, I mean I technically didn't participate in the battle.
I could join as a 'Soarer', but I can just imagine getting swarmed with questions, so no thank you.
Have got guildmast's permission and all already anyway, I'd rather eat and go to bed.
I went in the kitchen to prepare for dinner and sat down to catch my breath.
"Aah, I'm beat..."
"Good work, Hikaru."
"Nuoou!? O-oh it's you Alma, when'd you get so close?"
It's a bit scary how this girl occasionally creeps on me without me realizing.
She doesn't have any ill intent, but man does it feel like a jump scare.
"Sorry for startling you. I went back ahead of time knowing you'd have gone back by now."
"Ah, really... I'm just glad we both made it out alive. Good work, Alma."
I sure don't want to join another battle of that scale ever again.
Then there's Alma's parents who proactively jump in such battles all the time, they must be superhuman.
"Alma, aren't you going to the celebration party?"
"I'm not. After the battle, many people came to me asking about magic swords or inviting me to join their party, it was more tiring than the fight. I honestly don't want to be there anymore."
"O-Oh yeah... You got invited? And your response?"
"I declined them all. They kept mentioning my magic swords, or me being mom and dad's daughter, they didn't even look at me. Most were the people who kicked me out of their party when they found out I was an Apprentice Paladin back then too."
...Is she angry?
Her face remains expressionless but her words sound kinda prickly.
"Then when they started getting pushy saying it would be a waste and I'd hit a limit if I stayed alone, Fifraila got mad and shooed them away."
"Fifraila? That name kinda sounds familiar... Ah, eh? Was it the red haired girl from that three girl party?"
I seem to recall that was her name when I peeked at adventurers' statuses.
Eh, that girl covered Alma?
"Fifraila also asked me to join them after she did that."
"So she shooed those people because she wanted to monopolize you."
"But she was the only person who kept inviting me back then unlike other. I think she's not like them. She can be a bit of a bully, but she's actually really kind."
Ah, a tsundere huh.
"So, what's up? Did you join their party?"
She quietly murmured after falling silent.
"...I, I... Want to form a party with you, Hikaru."
"Fifraila's party is woman-only, so Hikaru can't join. That's not good."
"...Eh? Y-you couldn't get in a party because of me?"
"That's not it!"
She suddenly raised her voice, unusually for her.
She looks at me with a serious expression and a reddened face.
"I didn't have much fun before I met Hikaru. I couldn't get anything done. People kept saying my Job was a failed Job, it made me feel inferior. I kept trying my hardest to no avail, so I, I ended up thinking I was a failure."
She continued while looking downcast.
"But every day has become fun ever since I met Hikaru. Meals taste good. Learning doesn't feel suffocating. It's fun even, I get so much into it."
"Hikaru, will you, form a party, with me...?"
She asked with teary eyes.
Oof, that's some destructive power.
"Please, Hikaru you've given me so much I can't even begin to give back. I want to repay you as much as I could from now on... Or, am I a bother?"
"Not at all. In fact, I'm the one getting helped all the time. I'm not sure if I'd only drag you down too."
"That's absolutely not true... Then it's fine, right?"
"Y-yeah... I know it's late and all, Alma, wanna form a party with me?"
She looked at me with a blossoming smile she never showed before.
Guhaa! W-what power! Oh crap, she's seriously cute.
Dunno if I could keep my conscience... but I might end up like that goblin and Werewolf if I don't keep it together. Gotta throw away evil thoughts.
"Err, well then, let's get along from now on too, Alma."
"Likewise, thank you."
Umu, to be frank, I didn't expect her to depend on me this much.
Trying my hardest to no avail was something people often told me on earth.
Well, I worked to my bone due to that and managed to secure my place, but I was someone whose existence made no difference whatsoever.
Yet Alma thinks that I need to be around huh.
...Oh crap, that's the first time anyone told me that. I dunno what to feel, like a mix of happiness and anxiety.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
A stomach rumbling resounded in the room as my mind descended into chaos.
Destroying the atmosphere.
"...I'm sorry, of all time."
Ah, she laughed again.
Thinking back, today might be the first time I ever saw Alma's smile.
She's usually expressionless after all. Yet she still looks cute, kinda unfair.
"Now then, let's go with extravagant Katsudon for dinner!"
"You fry meat like with karaage then put it on top of arorice. The name sounds like katsu (win), and you're supposed to eat one before a match, so it's the other way around this time."
"Then it would be katta(won)-don?"
"No no, it's still katsudon. Doesn't matter if you eat it before or after a match. The results don't change the name."
Never heard kattadon before. Sure sounds like something the mascot of a rhythm game would say.
Now then, time to make meals for two-
"MY DAUGHTER ARE YOU WELLLLLLLL!!"
Correction. Meals for four.
Alma's parent could be heard shouting out loud after a loud sound of the door getting flung open.
No no, didn't you two play important roles this time. You should be in the party, hey.
"...Hikaru, do you have enough?"
"Well, I'll manage..."
"Ah! I knew you'd be in the kitchen! I sensed your presence here!"
"Oh! Hikaru-kun, glad to see you're safe too!"
They went straight to the kitchen. Wait, they could tell through presence?! Scary!
And forget a wound, their clothes look barely disordered. Must have been an easy victory as expected.
...Wish at least one of them could stay behind and deal with the mob...
"Good work, you both."
"Good work out there. Err, is it fine for you two to not attend the celebration party?"
"Our celebration party is wherever Alma-chan is."
"I don't dislike some good ol' get together with other adventurers. But not today. We've left all the bothersome stuff to guildmaster, no worries."
I see nothing but worries!
I'm gonna pray for guildmast's gastrointestinal health.
"Err, I'm about to make dinner now, would you like-."
""Yes! Make ours too!""
They're super enthusiastic. Well, they ate up the karaage back then, so they should like this one too.
Now then, time to start cooking.
Ah, it finally feels like I'm back to my daily life.