Chapter 105 – Test Party


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“Rollo, will you sleep here? Or will you go to the guild with me?” (Shuuya)

“— Nn.”

Rollo lifts her head slowly and purrs with a throaty voice as if saying 『I will go as well nya』.

“Nya, nyaoon.”

She opened her mouth to show her fangs, purred lengthily, quickly got up from atop the bed and came down from it.
Since she brought her paw close and rubbed her head with it, I extend my hand towards her while grinning and wondering whether her face that’s covered thickly with hair feels also as soft to stroke as her inner belly, but Rollo smoothly dodges my hand while purring throatily as if making fun of me, and runs outside.
This whimsical cat.
Once I left towards the hallway on the second floor in order to chase after the back of Rollo’s swaying body, she got on a thin handrail.

“How skilful…” (Shuuya)

“Nn.” (Rollo)

Rollo nimbly walked on top of the handrail while purring deeply as if humming a song, and then slid down towards the first floor using her butt.
Then, looking up at the closed door in front of the inn’s foyer, Rollo-san waits looking small and quiet.
When I get close to the waiting Rollo after having descended the inn’s stairway, she skilfully stands up on two paws and presses her two front paws against the entrance door. She moved her front paws up and down as if using the door as scratching post and signalling “open, open.”

“Haha, cute. But, Rollo, you mustn’t damage the door with your scratching—” (Shuuya)

While warning Rollo about that, I open the entrance door and go outside.

“N, nya.”

Walking to the grounds which stand out due to the illuminations of the lamps, I exited towards an alley.
Once we went into the alley, Rollo, who had run ahead, transformed into the mode that possessed the mane of a lion and resembled a horse.

“Nn, nya.”

I follow her meowing which feels like she has said 『Get on me here nya』.
I straddled atop the black horse Rollodeen.
After I grabbed the tentacle reins with one hand, we leave the alley and advance towards the First Ring Road.
We immediately arrived in front of the adventurer’s guild.

“Thank you, Rollo.” (Shuuya)

I descended to the ground while giving my thanks to Rollodeen.
I gently caressed the black hair below her neck with practised hand movements.
Once I do, Rollo’s bottom of the neck trembles apparently feeling good and then she returns from her horse-like mode back to her black cat mode. Seemingly wanting to return the favour, Rollo nuzzles her head against my feet.
Thereupon I turn my line of sight towards the guild.
The large, wooden double door, which serves as the entrance door of the guild, was open.
Which reminds me, I got filled with such a feeling at the time when I stepped into the adventurer’s guild in Hekatrail, too.
Countless adventurers are coming and going through the entrance.
If it’s like that, the interior will be packed as well.
While thinking that I really hate crowding, I passed through the guild’s door and entered inside with Rollo following me.
A large hall with plenty of space extends from this side deeply into the inner part.
Boards where the requests had been posted are lining up in a row.
It’s spacious, but as expected, it’s crowded.
It’s the usual, well-known spectacle.
The adventurers are choosing their requests in front of the boards while worrying over it.
Picking up a wooden token and walking to a receptionist; that sequence of events hasn’t changed.
It’s a really noisy and clamorous hustle and bustle.
I wonder what kind of requests they have…
I look at a board in front of me.
Unexpectedly there were many requests in regards to Party Application and Member Recruitment. Their number was around the same as the number of monster subjugation requests.
Recruitments for largely-built races to be used as shields, rear guards, wizards, healers, lock-pickers and those possessing skills that enable them to remove traps.
Our group has three vanguard warriors. That means we can’t join a party?
Magician recruitment and so on. There’s only such requests.
A great number of adventurers are intently checking the papers with those requests.
Even right next to me there was a woman holding a long wand that seems to be a magician.
Ooh, she’s a beautiful child.
Because I’m looking at her from close-by, her eyes seem to be big.
Her big eyes have pretty pupils that were dyed in a light blue colour, how lovely…
Her ears are shorter than those of elves, but the ears’ shape is long and narrow just like those of elves.
She looks cute.
While letting her blonde hair freely flow down towards the back on her left side, she detained the hair on the right side that flowed down towards the opposing side with an Alice band.
When I’m fixedly staring at that beautiful woman, our eyes meet.

“Umm, is there something wrong?”

The blue-eyed woman is suspicious of me.
Uhyaaa… I got charmed.
Since I surely can’t say that, I will deceive her suitably.

“Ah, no, there’s a lot of such requests, isn’t there? After all it’s my first time to come to the labyrinth city…” (Shuuya)

When I do, the woman’s blue eyes shine for an instant.
With a smile she moves her small lips.

“Really? It’s your first time, huh? Do you also intend to challenge the labyrinth?”

Of course, since it’s my intention to do so, I return in polite language,

“Yes, that is correct. That’s what I have planned to do.” (Shuuya)

“Is that so…? Did you already find a party or a clan in the Bar of Initial Resolution?”

The Bar of Initial Resolution, eh? Is that a bar where beginners gather?
Going by its name, it feels like a bar that appears in a certain national RPG.
Let’s give her a common reply.

“… No, I wondered whether I would give it a shot solo with my familiar…” (Shuuya)

Once she hears my words, the blue pupils of both her eyes that looked as if she was squinting them brighten up.
Gazing at my entire body with her characteristic blue eyes as if she’s licking me all over, she consented with a single nod.
And then, fixing her line of sight, she once again stares at me and Rollo, who was on my shoulder, with a serious look.
She changes her expression to one similar to squeezing out her courage.
As if a flame has lit inside her blue eyes… or rather, I felt like it really got lit.
Once she opens her small lips, a lovely voice comes out.

“… Really? In that case, won’t you form a party with me as a test, only once and just for the first floor?”

Party. She stressed the test part, but it’s an invitation by a beautiful woman with blonde hair and blue eyes.
However, for an instant, I remember the time with Kuna who deceived me.
But, it will be fine. I will go at it with a spirit of deceiving her rather than getting deceived by her.
On top of there being many things I don’t know about the labyrinth, she’s a beautiful woman.
It will be fine to judge the merits and demerits after forming a temporary party.

“… Very well. Only the first floor, as a test. However, there are many things I don’t know about the labyrinth. Will that be alright?” (Shuuya)

“Of course. Yaa— hooray. Will you really join a party with me?”

The blue-eyed woman looks really happy with her cheeks becoming slack. She switched to a showy behaviour.
Umm, is that something to be that happy about?
Even though the looks of the surrounding adventurers are pitying for some reason…
Without minding that, I revert to a casual tone after seeing her behaviour. Let’s introduce myself?

“… Right, my name is Shuuya Kagari. Please call me Shuuya. My adventurer rank is C-Rank. And, this fellow here is my partner and familiar Rollodeen, or rather, Rollo.” (Shuuya)

“Nya.”

Rollo, who is resting on my shoulder, greets her as well.

“Ah, I will introduce myself as well. My name is Rebecca. The adventurer rank is C. Shuuya and Rollo-chan, best regards.” (Rebecca)

Rebecca, huh? Her smile is cute.

“Please take care of us, Rebecca.” (Shuuya)

“Nn, nyao.”

“Yea? Fufu, that’s a cute neko-chan. Also, my strength lies largely in fire. The attributes I possess are fire and wind. As you can see, my combat occupation is magician. How about yours, Shuuya?” (Rebecca)

“Please think of me as magic warrior.” (Shuuya)

Rebecca nods in approval.

“Hee, I thought that you are a warrior because of your large build, but you have a familiar. After all you are capable of using magic as well, aren’t you?” (Rebecca)

“… I think that I can work quite reasonably as vanguard or middle guard.” (Shuuya)

“Okay, I will leave the vanguard to you. Well, if it’s the first floor of the labyrinth, the Envoy of Barbaroy won’t appear either. Since we will be fine with the two of us, let’s have a try right away?” (Rebecca)

I don’t understand what that Envoy of Barbaroy or whatever is.
But, the conversation proceeds smoothly.
From polite language, it suddenly turned into a casual manner of speech.
But, before going to the labyrinth, I wanted to look around magic tool shops and such.
Going by the flow of the chat, that seems to be okay as well…
Should I ask her about that next?

“Wait a moment. There’s a place I’d like to visit before going to the labyrinth. Is that fine with you?” (Shuuya)

Due to my words,

“… W-What?” (Rebecca)

Rebecca shows a slightly shaken behaviour.
Huh? Did I make a mistake?
I don’t know why she feels shaken, but I will tell her about wanting to go shopping.

“Just as I told you before, I only arrived in the labyrinth city, right? Thus, I decided on an inn, but somehow I want to look at a magic tools shop in preparation~…” (Shuuya)

Hearing that, Rebecca’s expression changes back to one of relief.

“… Okay, then we will first choose only a simple request as test and I will lead you to a magic tools shop.” (Rebecca)

“Ooh, is that okay for you?” (Shuuya)

“Of course. For me it’s been a really long time since I had a party member. I will help you.” (Rebecca)

“Thanks. Then let’s first look at the requests.” (Shuuya)

“Yeah. Let’s choose C or D rank requests.” (Rebecca)

Once again the two of us look at the request boards.
Monster subjugation isn’t only requested for the labyrinth but there are also many requests for monster types that appear in the 【Great Plains of Pelneet】.
Rebecca and me narrow it down to monsters inhibiting the labyrinth and search for subjugation requests.
There’s only subjugation requests above C rank for the labyrinth.
The silver-fanged ogre, commonly called Volck, has been confirmed to appear starting from the second floor. The whole body of the silver Volck as raw material.
The whole body of the Gold-threaded DinosaurGolden Tyrant that appears on the third floor and below as raw material.
This is on the third floor, too?
The whole body of the Ferocious Bull SpiderTitan Spider as raw material.
In addition there are various other requests with the names of monsters written on them, but there are no requests with the familiar names of goblins and orcs…
Such requests exist for the 【Great Plains of Pelneet】.
The most numerous among the labyrinth requests are those for gathering magic stones. A list with the prices for magic stones was written on a big paper.
Depending on the size such as small, medium, big, very big, the prices for buying magic stones rise sharply.
In addition it seems like the types are finely split by colour and shape, but…
Something like gathering five small magic stones exists as a D rank request.
As B and C rank adventurers are expensive, they apparently demand bigger numbers of collected magic stones than larger magic stones.
There are relatively many requests besides those, such as bodyguard or escort requests.
I will try asking Rebecca.

“… Rebecca, do you have a moment?” (Shuuya)

“Yeah?” (Rebecca)

“There are no requests to defeat several goblins among the ones in the labyrinth, but for the plains outside they exists. Why is that so?” (Shuuya)

Hearing my question, Rebecca snickers softly.

“That’s because the magic stones are essential. You wondered why there are no goblin or orc requests among the labyrinth requests, right?” (Rebecca)

Bingo. Going by Rebecca’s explanation the reason for that seems to be quite reasonable.
I feel slightly ashamed.
Well, there’s a saying that being ashamed for asking once is the shame for one’s whole life for not asking. (T/N: Meaning: One should actively question the things one doesn’t understand)

“Just as you say.” (Shuuya)

“Of course a great number, or rather, an infinite number of goblins and orcs appear in the labyrinth. And, if you defeat a monster in there, they will always drop a magic stone that corresponds to the strength of that monster. But you know, if it’s outside the labyrinth, only few monsters possess a magic stone. Therefore, there are many requests to directly subjugate goblins outside the labyrinth.” (Rebecca)

If it’s inside the labyrinth, they will always drop magic stones?

“I see, so that’s the reason.” (Shuuya)

“Yeah. Magic stones are necessities that become material for various things. By the way, big magic stones are called magic crystals, but most of the times they are called big magic stones or very big magic stones.” (Rebecca)

Magic crystal? That possibly sounds like fossil fuel.
I feel like Master Achilles talked about that.

“Well, sorry. I ended up asking you something obvious.” (Shuuya)

I scratch my head.

“No, I don’t really mind. It’s your first time. Shuuya, you are C-Rank, but let’s get a request we can handle even as beginners on a safe floor where Barbaroy doesn’t appear, since it’s your first visit to the labyrinth.” (Rebecca)

She places one of her beautiful, slender fingers on a request paper and taps on the board.
Just like that, she took a wooden token from the edge located below that board.
It’s a C-Rank request.

Client: Labyrinth Administration Bureau
Request Content: C-Rank small magic stones. “20 stones” regardless of quality.
Subjugation Target: none
Application Period: indefinite
Search Area: The labyrinth’s first floor ~
Reward: 10 Silver Coins
Subjugation Proof: Magic Stones
Hints: All kinds of monsters
Note: none

The client is the Labyrinth Administration Bureau, eh?
As client related to magic stones, the Labyrinth Administration Bureau comes up more often than companies.
It’s a request from the country, isn’t it?

“Very well. Let’s take that one.” (Shuuya)

“By the way, you can’t accept several of the magic stone requests, okay? As it’s a request for the first floor, it only applies to that floor. Though you can accept several monster subjugation requests.” (Rebecca)

“Hee, I will remember that.” (Shuuya)

Rebecca and me take that wooden token to the receptionist from a little while ago.
We present the wooden token and our cards to the receptionist.
Rebecca finished her procedures smoothly.
Is the receptionist whittling my card with a silver plane-like carpenter tool?
No, she scanned it. It’s probably a magic tool.
It’s reading the information.
It’s the first time for me to see that. Is that a unique item of the labyrinth city?

“… Shuuya Kagari-sama, it will be your first time in the labyrinth, right?”

“Yes, that’s correct.” (Shuuya)

It looks like she knows whether I’ve been to the labyrinth before or not.

“One silver coin will be levied by the country. Is that fine with you?”

Is the adventurer’s guild here directly managed by the country?
I guess it’s a tax?

“Understood.” (Shuuya)

I reply with a concise affirmation.
I take out a silver coin from my item box and pay with that.

“Well then, is it alright for me to explain the rules of the adventurer’s guild in 【Labyrinth City Pelneet】?”

Once I look in Rebecca’s direction, she nods silently.
I think she’s telling me “listen to it as I will wait.”

“— Yes.” (Shuuya)

There’s a system similar to a bank and safe-deposit boxes at work in the guild here. For a party a message box is available. If it’s a clan, they can use one safe-deposit box for free.
I feel like Hekatrail had something similar as well.
But, creating a clan costs 100 gold coins.
The guild basically keeps a “no-touch” policy in regards to quarrels over requests and what happens inside the labyrinth.
The receptionist’s explanation continues.

“We won’t get involved with disputes with nobles, dark guilds, murder, being killed by monsters.”

In case of unreasonable conduct; I receive the explanation “Please get in touch with the soldiers of the Labyrinth Administration Bureau” with a smile.
I listened silently.
Is that what you call an unspoken agreement? Pure strength and the words of those possessing authority, it’s the same everywhere.
The formalities after that concluded without delay.
Touching a crystal that is the same as in the other cities, the request got accepted right away.
Rebecca and me left the guild.
I guess I will ask her about the shop?

“Rebecca, it will be fine with a magic tools shop that sells magic books, but do you have any place you can recommend?” (Shuuya)

“Of course I do. — My combat occupation is magician, you know? Leave it to me. Since there’s a place which I visit quite frequently, we will head over there.” (Rebecca)

Rebecca says while skipping lightly.
The long wand that she held with her white-fish-like hand had a small red jewel attached at its tip.
Turning the long wand around like a baton, she faces me with a lovely smile.
Did her skirt roll up a bit just now?

『Your Excellency, you have formed a party with this woman, haven’t you?』 (Helme)

Helme appeared in my sight while spinning around.

『Yeah, as a test.』 (Shuuya)

『Is that so? I believe that you have already noticed, but since she’s great at mana control, you might say that she’s an excellent magician. However, the wand she possesses is trash…』 (Helme)

『If she’s excellent even seen through the eyes of a spirit, Rebecca must be really very good, I suppose.』 (Shuuya)

『Yes. I think that she will be a good member. I recommend her not as party member but as your subordinate, Your Excellency.』 (Helme)

『Subordinate, huh? That’s hasty. Please disappear for now.』 (Shuuya)

『Okay!』 (Helme)

Even while talking with Helme for a short time in my mind, I kept looking at Rebecca’s body.
I judge that Rebecca’s height is between 150 and 160 centimetres.
Her attire is a blue shirt on top and a blackish cape similar to a poncho on her shoulders.
As if hiding her small chest, a flower brooch with a silver chain was fastened at her chest on top of the black cape.
A black belt with a broad chain was tied around her slender waist. Potions and an accessory case were affixed to that black belt.
Her lower body had a miniskirt with a slit in the red cloth tightly covering her hips.
As it was a mini type, her thighs were visible.
However, her underwear are drawers similar to spats.
Unfortunately I can’t see her panties.
On her feet she’s wearing black, long socks and platform shoes that taper towards a pointed end and that seem to be the typical footwear of magicians.
Is she really a magician?
According to what Helme pointed out, the magic source inside her body moves smoothly.
Once again turning around the long wand she holds in her slender hand, she holds it up.
I could feel a bit mana from the red jewel that has been embedded at the tip of that long wand.

“… What is it? Your look is strange, so what’s up?” (Rebecca)

“Sorry. Judging from that long wand, I was wondering whether you are a magician.” (Shuuya)

“Because I’m a strange magician, me holding a wand isn’t normal. So, we will head to the left-upper part of the city from here on. We will go to a place commonly called Magic Street although it’s a place ranging from the Third Ring Road to the Second Ring Road.” (Rebecca)

Hoo, let’s go with that.

“Got it. Let’s go?” (Shuuya)

We walk in the manner of me being guided by Rebecca.
Though I thought that it would be faster to ride Rollo, Rollo doesn’t move.
She’s resting on my shoulder. Oh well, it’s fine.
Occasionally it’s also great to have a date with a beautiful woman while walking.

“What? Your grinning, plain expression is slightly disgusting?” (Rebecca)

Ugh, she doesn’t mince her words, does she?
Disgusting, to be told that…

“It doesn’t particularly matter even if I grin, does it?” (Shuuya)

The slightly discomposed me talks to Rebecca while laughing lightly.

“Fufu, that’s true as well. By the way, Shuuya, you told me that you are a C-Rank adventurer, but where have you been active before coming to this 『Labyrinth City』?” (Rebecca)

Rebecca asks while inclining her head slightly.

“I’ve been travelling. Until recently I was active in Demonic Steel-City Holkerbaum. Before that I was in Fortress City Hekatrail.” (Shuuya)

“Holkerbaum and Hekatrail, huh? You were active in such eastern regions, eh? Since I was born here, I don’t know any other place than this. I always made a living here in Pelneet.” (Rebecca)

“Then you have experienced and earned quite a bit in the labyrinth, haven’t you?” (Shuuya)

“That is…” (Rebecca)

Rebecca somewhat bends down and frowns as if it’s difficult to talk about it.
Mmh? Did I say something weird?
She walks slightly ahead.

“What’s wrong?” (Shuuya)

“Er, well… I dove many times into the labyrinth, but because I haven’t earned overly much…” (Rebecca)

“Why didn’t you earn much?” (Shuuya)

Rebecca, who had gone slightly ahead, reacts with a twitch of her shoulders due to my question and halts.
She turned around to me while donning a slightly meek expression.
— She’s peeking at me.

“What’s up? Showing such face. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine with me.” (Shuuya)

“I have confidence in my magic skills. Even more so than the talented students that graduated from the magic academy…” (Rebecca)

“Mmh? I don’t see where the story’s heading, but…” (Shuuya)

“Well, aah, geez, do I have to spell it out? Okay, I will. You know, I’m a half elf…” (Rebecca)

A half, huh? I thought that to be the case from the shape of her ears.

“What’s wrong with that?” (Shuuya)

“Huh? Umm, that is, even when I joined parties, there were many cases where I ended up getting expelled right away. It’s said that the child between an elf and a human brings bad luck. At first I didn’t care about that and freely joined several parties, but… actually, each time I dove into the labyrinth, the members of the party I entered died after falling into a trap or getting killed by monsters… at all such times the party ended up partially destroyed…” (Rebecca)

Whoa, she has no luck, does she? Even though she’s a beauty, she’s a woman with little luck.

“While such things repeated themselves, I got the nickname Angel of Death. With me just being a half elf, and because I had this rumour that doesn’t give me any decent reputation following me around, I didn’t have many chances to join a party. Even when I formed parties with people that didn’t know anything like you, Shuuya, there were many situations where I was openly hated by the members who heard the rumours about me. Just after forming a party at great pains, the party broke up the next day or the day after that. Such stuff was an everyday occurrence to me. Please don’t come here anymore since we don’t want to form a party with you, is what I was told many times…” (Rebecca)

Something like that…
Hearing angel of death, I remember Rubia who was called a taboo child.
I wonder whether that girl’s doing fine?
However, I guess discrimination exists in any world or city…
At that moment I saw that Rebecca filled her slender hand that was holding her wand with strength.
The inner sides of her lovely, golden eyebrows rise and gather in the middle.
She probably summoned her courage and told me all that while suppressing her sorrow.
It felt slightly painful… I will give her a peace of mind, I guess?

“… Rebecca, why did you tell me that?” (Shuuya)

“Currently you have joined up with me as a test, but since I thought you would hear about me from someone sooner or later, I wanted to tell you by myself before that happens. Because you can challenge the labyrinth with ten people at once, I would hate it if you had a bad reputation at the time when you recruit or gather other members, Shuuya.” (Rebecca)

“I see.” (Shuuya)

“Therefore, if you want to refuse partying with me, I won’t mind even if you do it right away. Then we will stop the test, too. Ah, don’t worry about it since there’s plenty other adventurers who have such bad-feeling nicknames attached to them? For now I will just properly guide you to the magic tools shop…” (Rebecca)

What a fairly pessimistic thinking.
However, my side might cause Rebecca trouble.
After all I’m currently in a fight with a dark guild.
My acquaintances might get marked.
Since I can’t sense any presences inside the range of my Grasping Perception, I might be over-thinking it though.
But, if I think about those things, I will end up unable to mingle with others…
Well, if push comes to shove, I can always look for Eribol’s mansion and crush their leaders, I guess.

“… I don’t mind at all. Even I in fact, have reasons making it hard for me to form a party. Thus, I don’t care. Well then, please guide me to the shop.” (Shuuya)

Once Rebecca hears my words, she enthusiastically reveals a bright, girlish expression, but at the same time she is taken aback and pouts.

“… Really?” (Rebecca)

She asked in the shape of a question.

“Yes. Do you want me to speak openly?” (Shuuya)

“Yeah.” (Rebecca)

She probably told me after pondering about various things due to having formed a party with me.
I guess I will tell her my true lecherous motives as well?

“Alright, in that case let me lay everything on the table. Currently I haven’t thought about other members at all. I said it several times, but I’m a newbie in regards to the labyrinth here. Moreover, there’s no way for me to hate a person who has offered to guide me to a shop like this. To begin with, for me it really doesn’t matter to what race you belong. The problem is that you are a woman, Rebecca. If it’s a man, I think that even the story of the very first invitation would finish on the spot without it becoming inflated… Although it’s something I say myself, I like women. That being the case, I simply formed a party with you, Rebecca, because you are cute. That’s all there is to it.” (Shuuya)

“… E-Eh!? Oh god, what are you saying—” (Rebecca)

Rebecca’s face on the spot ends up boiling brightly red just like an octopus.
Dropping her long wand that is her important tool for her occupation on the ground, she repeats the action of hiding her face with both hands.

“There’s no deeper meaning, you know? Those are my true thoughts. Rebecca, you have dropped your wand…” (Shuuya)

“Ah, yeah. You delivered that in a far too straight manner. Geez, well then, since it’s over there, let’s go.” (Rebecca)

Rebecca picks up the wand as if trying to gloss over that her face has become red, and then suddenly turns to the front again and starts walking ahead.

 


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