After having prepared everything for our departure, I suddenly noticed that Ryoku was gone.
“Eh? Huh? Do you know where Ryoku is?”
“No? Won’t he come runnin’ as soon as you call him anyway?”
He’ll come running if I call him, sure, or rather, it’s kinda unthinkable for me that he’s wandered off somewhere on his own accord.
…Just as I thought that, he stealthily showed his face from the roof.
“Oh, Ryoku! …Why are you in such a place?”
Did some kind of basic function trigger?
“i ReCEiveD a reQuEsT frOM ThE pHArmaCy gRANnY”
What was that!?
After exchanging a look with Sword, Ryoku and I turned on the optical camouflage, and headed to the pharmacy like that with Sword probably unable to see either of us. On the way, I explained to him that the guild had told me to not get involved with them since it had actually been a regular request.
“…I see. Already wondered why it was so low payin’. A time limit for a gatherin’ quest is weird, too.”
“Her exclusive adventurer should have resumed after getting over her injuries, so things should be over with this…”
Once we arrived at granny’s place, Ryoku drew close to her.
“Oh, I see, you called her over, haven’t you? You’re a smart boy.” She stroked Ryoku.
…Wait a sec!! Why do you get attached to people other than me!?
“…I heard from Ryoku that he accepted a request or something like that…”
“Wait a moment, the guild told me to not accept any requests from you. You have your very own adventurer working for you, don’t you?”
“It’s about that girl.”
Unbelievably that girl had rushed out of the pharmacy to head deep into the forest to gather plants out of some feeling of rivalry with me even though it was well beyond her abilities.
“Well, no need to worry then. The guild is going to put up a rescue request after the delivery time passes. If she comes back safely, all will be fine, and if not, they’ll send someone to rescue her.”
Granny shook her head with a sad look.
Huh? Isn’t that how it works?
Looking at Sword, he frowned, “…In short, your tellin’ us to rescue her for free without goin’ through the guild?”
Hmm? What’s this about?
When I tilted my head to the side in confusion, granny started to talk with a somewhat desperate tone, “…You can tell from looking, can’t you? This place is where the penniless gather. That girl was also born and raised here. The reason why I’m running a pharmacy over here is to treat the injuries and illnesses of those who 『don’t have the money to buy healing potions』. I have no problems with that. Rather, it makes me happy if my knowledge can be of use to others.”
Granny sighed, “…I taught that girl all kinds of things as I wanted her to become like me, but she hated it. She rushed out, saying 『I’ll become an adventurer and earn lots of money!』. …But you see, she lacks composure and is careless. Above all, with her slender arms and her not having the money to buy equipment, being an adventurer is asking too much. That’s why I put up a request to make her gather plants safely.”
――So that regular request was an expression of her kindness!
That means…I did something bad by having accepted it. But, that girl is misunderstanding! Adventurer isn’t a job to earn lots of money, but an occupation to go on adventures!
“…Therefore, if that girl has to pay a fine because of that request… It’d still be okay if she can pay it, but I’d feel terrible if she fell into slavery because of it. But, even I don’t have any significant savings to pay the fine for her. But, if it’s you, I can ask you to save her.”
No, I’m not that easy-going, you know?
“I’m sorry, but I don’t feel like saving her. That girl is the typical type of person who returns good with evil. I’d love to grant your wish, but since my feeling of not wanting to save her dominates, I have to turn you down this time.”
Sword cast a sidelong glance at me.
…Yep, 「You keepin’ somethin’ from me?」 is totally written on his face! Perceptive guys are unpopular!
As I feigned ignorance while facing Sword, granny took something out with a rustling.
“…This is a medicine of perpetual youth. Well, it’s just being called like that as its effect doesn’t go that far, and it won’t do much good unless you take it every day. Even so, it has the achievement of having healed people, who got afflicted by unknown illnesses, after making them take it.”
My eyes flew wide open, and adrenaline rushed through my veins.
“…An effect of ［Reactive Oxygen］ removal!?”
“Haah?” Sword immediately reacted.
Granny, whose face was somehow dyed with exhaustion, laughed.
“Idiot! You don’t know ［Reactive Oxygen］? It’s common knowledge! ［Reactive Oxygen］, you see, was the reason for many of the human illnesses in the world I used to be. It’s an extremely harmful component to humans! ［Oxygen］ is essential for the human body, but ［Oxygen］ also has some very harmful traits. If a body takes in too much ［Oxygen］, it’ll turn into ［Reactive Oxygen］. The ［Reactive Oxygen］ will then damage the cells in the human body-dy-dy-dy-dy.”
I was violently shaken back and forth.
“I got it~~~~! All’s fine now, so calm down!”
I breathed in deeply.
I breathed out deeply.
“It sure sounds like I’ve got your interest with this. So, are you going to take up the request?”
“Wait. Teach me the raw materials too. The material containing components with the highest removal effect I know of is the skin of ［Melons］ which can be harvested in big farming nations, but what would be the equivalent over here? Or are there any plants with an even higher effect-ect-ect-ect-ect.”
I’m being shaken again.
“Don’t get so riled up!
I breathed in deeply.
I breathed out deeply.
“Got it, I’ll accept the request.” I answered clearly.
“…You’ve definitely made a mistake with your job choice. You should have become a scholar and not an adventurer.”
Hearing that remark, granny commented with a laugh, “She’s young, so she can still choose her own way in life, can’t she?”
Certainly, she got a point there.
“Well, you might be right about that, but I don’t want to do this as a job. It’s one of the things I can enjoy because it’s just a hobby. Besides, I haven’t adventured yet. You make sure to tell that girl that being an adventurer isn’t about earning big money but about going on adventurers, once she comes back safely, okay?”
This time Sword burst into laughter.
“True, it’s just as she says. There’s a bunch of other good job for earnin’ lots of dough. You can tell her from me: If you can’t come to terms with all the absurdity and irrationality, you won’t get far. And if you can’t cope with unreasonable violence and slander, your goin’ to barely manage to make a livin’ without ever makin’ any profit as adventurer.”
Sword looks like he’s making a good profit though? Is it some kind of scheme where he’s making good money with some side job?
On the way to the destination of the request, he questioned me, as I had already expected would happen.
“Hey, your hidin’ somethin’ from me, aren’t you?”
“Look, men shouldn’t persistently interrogate women about their secrets! Besides, being somewhat thickheaded is the key for any popular guy!”
When I jerked my head the other way with a huff, it earned me the usual grinding.
“Ain’t no women ’round anyway. In the first place, I’m not goin’ for bein’ popular!”
“Ou-Ou-Ouch. …It’s no major issue. I told you when we went to the pharmacy, didn’t I? I accepted the request without knowing about it being regular.”
“So, you got in a fight or somethin’?”
“It caused a tiny ruckus, but that got resolved without a hitch.”
“I’ve been tellin’ you to expand on that 『tiny』 of yours!”
“…Well, the person we’re going to rescue apparently disliked me having accepted the request on my own accord, and started making an uproar. Without listening to granny’s soothing, she shouted something about me having deceived granny, resulting in some old blokes appearing from all over the place. Since they began to scream around after getting together, I called the authorities through the guild to help me by taking them in for being a nuisance to the neighborhood.”
After becoming dumbstruck, Sword thundered at me, “Hey! Don’t hide somethin’ so important!!”
“You’re exaggerating, you know? The uproar died down when I gently stroked them a bit before things escalated, and the guild employee admitted his own blunder and apologized to me. However, he told me that it’d be better for me to stay away from the pharmacy, and thus I planned to leave the town just like that. I had already found out what I wanted to know about the medicinal plants, and the compounding was finished as well. So I had just been going to granny because it was so much fun to discuss medicinal plants with her.”
Sword opened his mouth, about to say something, but then closed it again. Then he caressed my head.
“So? Your sayin’ we’re goin’ to rescue the one who’s responsible for the uproar and your bein’ forbidden to go there again?”
“Yeah. …For her to offer me this must mean that granny is dotting quite a bit on that girl.” I showed him the medicine I got.
“Though, you’d be about the only person who’d move a finger for that. That granny is quite cunnin’ when it comes to askin’ for things.”
“No kidding.” I nodded.
When I looked at the medicine again, Sword laughed, “…If it holds such a big value for you, I s’pose there’s worth doin’ a request you hate.”
“No, it’s not like you need to come with me though?”
Once I turned him down, Sword looked at me with surprise written all over his face.
“What are you talkin’ ’bout all of a sudden!?”
It’s nothing that unusual, is it…?
“Even during simple rescue missions, you’ll take damage without knowing it, mental one that is. So, stay away.”
“Obviously I’m goin’! Rather, I should actually take your place instead!”
I frowned, not understanding what he meant.
“Why would you take my place? I’ve been telling you for a good while now. I’ll take care of all lifesaving.”
“You goin’ to save someone who made others gang up on you while treatin’ you like a criminal!?”
“I expect her to grumble about not wanting to be saved, and she’ll likely yell at me even after I rescued her.”
“So you’re still goin’ despite knowin’ all that!?”
“That’s the value it has.”
“…You mean the medicine you received?”
I nodded deeply.
Sword looked at me and sighed.
“…Gotcha. But, I’ll come with you. I’m worried.”
“And I’m worried about you…”
I’d really like him to stay out of this when considering him suffering so much mental damage that he starts drinking heavily again.
When I sighed as well, he ground my temples again.
That’s so unwarranted!
“…I’m tellin’ you that I’ll worry ’bout you. Rather, you should take a tiny bit of mental damage yourself!”
I was told something terrible by an awfully sulky Sword.
“If this much were to be enough to cause mental damage, I’d never have survived as noble. Besides, I lived in a far crueler environment when I was little. Compared to that time, this here is no more than a gentle breeze.”
“Whaaa!” I got startled when I was suddenly lifted up by Sword.
“…Sorry, I wasn’t aware of your past environment.”
I sighed once again.
“That’s why…I don’t want you to suffer damage from the little bit I told you. You need to reflect on things and be more thoughtful, but there’s no point in you getting hurt by unnecessary sensitiveness. You’re an old guy whose period as a sensitive boy has long passed, after all.”
I was dropped on the ground.