“Oh, it’s come in sight.”
“Yahooo!! We’ve finally reached a town!!”
One month has already passed since I left home. Going up and down the mountains like we were doing some kind of ascetic training out in the wild, we pushed our way through trackless paths, just to arrive at a human habitation at long last.
Yep, somehow it feels like living in the mountains might actually work, is what I had started to believe at some point! But that’s not what I’ve been aiming for with leaving home.
Otherworld sightseeing! I want to go around this new world and look at what it’s got to offer. I mean wouldn’t it be pearls thrown before swine if I didn’t do that with all the gold coins I obtained jingling in my bag?
“For starters we’re goin’ to the guild to get you registered as an adventurer. Then we can talk about what to do next.”
Sword ruffled up my hair.
“…? Is something wrong?”
Sword had suddenly looked at me with a somewhat cryptic expression.
“No, not really… It’s just us arrivin’ at a human settlement for the first time in a few dozen days, and yet your hair’s so tidy.”
“Don’t state the obvious. Filthiness is an enemy.”
No matter where we went, I always took a shower. If I were to choose a place to settle down, it’s got to have a bath I can enter whenever I feel like it.
“I can totally tell a thing or two about it. You’ve forced me to do the same every day.”
“Smelly blokes are unpopular.
“……You really have no cuteness in you!”
He grabbed my head, with an iron claw!
“Yikes! Back at you! How are you behaving towards a lady!?”
“Just where’s that lady you speakin’ of!? A lady would never use somethin’ like 『Smelly bloke』 when describin’ a gentleman!”
At a place appearing to be a checkpoint, Sword showed a sparky, silver plate with a gem embedded to a governmental official. The official’s eyes widened, and after looking back and forth between the plate and Sword many times over, he bowed.
“This one’s with me. I’ll vouch for her. We plan to have her register at the guild, so please let her pass.”
I stared at Sword and the official in alternation, “Please tell me the common customs for this here.”
“Checkpoints are set up at the entrances of most cities and towns for times of emergencies or when criminals are tryin’ to get inside. So, everyone gets inspected. They’ll write down who you are, where you come from, why your here, and when you plan to leave. The adventurer card issued by the guild also works as identification, so you’ll get a pass most of the times when showin’ it.”
“I see, I see.”
He explained in a way making it easy to understand the conversation between him and the official just now. Once we passed the checkpoint, a fantasy world awaited me beyond.
――Oohh! It’s kinda like I’ve come to a World Heritage village during a vacation abroad!
The buildings were square with the rudimentary walls made out of dirt. Since all of them look the same, I’d definitely get lost here.
“I’m gonna leave you behind if you dawdle ’round.” He hit my head.
“No problem. I’ll be able to meet up with you as long as I go to the adventurer guild.”
Upon my answer, he intently stared at me with his eyes narrowed down to a thin line, “I really take my hat off to how calm you always act, without a shred of childishness.”
We went to the guild and I got registered.
It seems like getting a card issued goes much smoother if an adventurer acts as chaperon for you. Smooth and without any problem whatsoever…
“…? It’s different from the card you own, isn’t it?”
“Naturally. Ain’t no way it’d be the same for me as for a newbie adventurer, right?”
The people around us laughed.
“It’s only natural for you, I don’t know any of it. Before telling me what’s natural or not, explain things in advance.”
When I talked back to Sword, those around us became dumbfounded.
Sword shrugged his shoulders, “Your card is the basic one. My card is special.”
“…You committed a crime, and because of that…”
“Hey! You bundle of absurdity! That’s an unwarranted accusation!”
“Eek! It’s just been a joke!”
Another iron claw.
――I secretly took a deep breath while messing ’round with her. …Once I say this, she’s probably gonna resent, scold, and blame me.
But, at this rate, it’s gonna be bad for her. She’s strangely smart and got enough talent allowin’ her to call herself a prodigy, but she’s still a ten years old girl. If she only hangs ’round adults, she won’t be able to make any friends of her age, resultin’ in her becomin’ isolated more n’ more.
Since she was finally able to get outta that environment, I want her to find friends she can trust and accumulate lots of experience as a young adventurer. …It’d suck if she became like me.
I let go of her hand, took a step back, and told her, “Okay then, this is where we part. As you can see, I’m a big-shot, so, because of the huge difference between a newbie adventurer like you and a veteran like me, I won’t be able to keep you company any longer.
Don’t show yourself in front of me until you found new friends, created a party with them, and reached at least C-Rank.” I had intended to say this with a carefree tone.
But…just as I’d expected, her face froze. After lookin’ at me for a while, apparently not understandin’ what I meant, her eye color suddenly intensified, and she burst into laughter while brushin’ her forelocks up.
Okay, she’s pissed. Let’s see what she’s goin’ to hurl at me. I can’t imagine her bawlin’, but if she actually does, I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to hold on to my determination.
This was the first sentence that left her mouth.
“…As I’ve thought, you can’t trust any of the people of this world.” Mutterin’ that, she abruptly erased all expressions from her face, and turned on her heels without saying anythin’ else, quickly leavin’ the guild without a single word.
“Scorn” rather than “blame and scolding” was an option as well, huh? I thought while watchin’ her small, upright back that never turned around again.