When I headed over to the YD Cafe on the next day, as agreed, Ms. Saito was unexpectedly sitting next to Ms. Mitsurugi, who was waving her hand at me from her usual, inconspicuous, table in a corner.
“Long time no see, Ms. Saito.”
“It’s really been quite a while. I heard about the sushi party from the other day, you know? Jeez, I wanted to go as well!”
“You had a shoot, didn’t you? I heard that you’ve become busy.”
“Yep. It’s reached the point that I’m just living for my job. Just for my job.” Ms. Saito raises both hands, and bangs them on the table in anger.
However, it’s completely soundless. It’s what you’d call pantomime.
“But seriously, dungeons are amazing.” Ms. Saito broaches a new topic, after selecting black tea from the array of drinks she ordered and taking a sip. “At first I reluctantly went along with Haru, but this girl is ridiculously diligent, you see? I mean, she was hunting in total silence. It’d be meaningless and dangerous if I strayed too far from her. So I got dragged into it, and also did nothing more than hunt silently, though…”
Ms. Saito looks at Ms. Mitsurugi next to her. Ms. Mitsurugi repeatedly scratches her cheek, obviously feeling awkward.
“I think it was after two weeks or so had passed. She had an audition for a minor role.”
“When I tried to perform, somehow, my body just kinda seemed to move exactly like I wanted it to. I was totally surprised, wondering just what the hell was goin’ on. Afterwards I committed myself to spending my days silently entering and leaving the dungeon together with Haru.”
Although it was a minor role, it was a position with quite a bit of leverage. It seems that offers have been flooding in successively ever since then, seemingly because rumors about her spread through the director of that movie after she passed the audition easily.
“Eventually it reached the point that I could easily remember any script after just one reading. Is some kind of substance present in dungeons that makes you intelligent, or what?”
Ah, I suppose her INT went up because she had been hunting while paying attention to Ms. Mitsurugi.
“However, you see──”
“I haven’t been offered any lead roles so far. I’m still not popular, after all.”
“That will follow soon, won’t it?”
“It’d sure be nice, but…becoming a famous supporting actor is something for after I grow old! While young, it’s gotta be a leading role! I want a leading part!”
She moves her chair with a clattering, sits down next to me, takes my right arm, and presses it against her breasts.
What’s with this honey trap!?
“That’s why～ Become my angel, Mr. Yoshimura～”
“It’s about investing into a movie or something like that.” Ms. Mitsurugi says while peeling Ms. Saito off of me.
“I don’t have that kind of money. I’m a commoner.”
“You mean a commoner could invest such a wonderful pearl into Haru after just having met her a little while ago?” Ms. Saito glares my way with a scornful look, after placing an elbow on the table and propping up her chin with the back of her hand.
“Invest, you say… No, look, that pearl was more or less my congratulatory gift for my pupil having accomplished something.”
“You made a mistake with the digits, the digits, I tell you. Just how much does an earring of the M collection cost, do you think!? Even though I’ve done my very best, you didn’t get anything for me.”
No, that’s because I didn’t look at the price since I was in a hurry, okay? I just ordered it, confirmed the goods, handed over my card, and signed the bill.
“Okay, okay, if you land some leading role, I’ll properly finance my cute pupil.”
“Seriously!? It’s a promise!”
Ms. Saito rejoices, smiling like a flower, but the part about it being unclear how much of it was an act is really terrifying. But then again, I kinda feel like she meant all of it seriously.
“However, as always, you’re completely faithful to your desires, aren’t you?”
Upon hearing my words, Ms. Saito laughs through her nose. “It’s not like it’s bad to be faithful to your desires. Especially in this world. If I show a will to compromise or something, I’ll never get any roles. Lady Luck has no eyes on the back of her head!”
After making that declaration, she suddenly clads herself in a ladylike aura, and puts on a coquettish air.
“However, it’s the exact opposite of my usual image. Hohoho.”
Rather than being shocked, I admire Ms. Saito for that.
“Somehow, my vitality has been increasingly overflowing like this.”
“Ryoko, you’ve been too busy recently, so it’s accumulated a bit.”
“What is it that has accumulated? Care to tell me? You sure got it good, Haru. You’ve got someone to treat you kindly, don’t you?”
Ms. Mitsurugi covers her blushing cheeks with her hands. You know, that has the opposite effect if you blush.
“So, what is it that you want to do?”
“Something to get rid of what’s built up.” Ms. Saito points out with a look as if saying, “Hehe, isn’t it kinda obvious?”
Girly, this is absolutely the wrong place for a woman, who has started to climb the ladder towards becoming a popular actress, to say something so indecent, isn’t it?
“Let’s see. I had pretty much planned to invite Ms. Mitsurugi for dinner after finishing today’s exploration, but how about you come with us, Ms. Saito?”
“Evening? I’ve got time, but is it okay for me to intrude upon you guys?”
“Don’t worry, Miyoshi is going to come as well.”
“Oh, I see, Ms. Miyoshi was going to join, huh?”
Ms. Saito looks back and forth between me and Ms. Mitsurugi as if watching something disappointing.
“Anything wrong with Miyoshi?”
“No, not really. You’re going to treat me, right? Of course I’ll be there~” Ms. Saito grabs my arm once more, and clings to me.
I’m telling you, what’re ya goin’ to do if this results in a scoop, girl?
I contact the restaurant on the spot, and ask whether it’s possible to increase the attendees by one more person. Luckily it seems to be okay.
“But, Mr. Yoshimura, you’re a fairly nice guy, aren’t ya?”
“Where’s that coming from?”
“I mean, you don’t look like you’d cheat, seeing as you’re a herbivore. You seem to be quite loaded. And your looks are also acceptable, I’d say? I guess you really shouldn’t look down on researchers.”
I got totally evaluated here. No wait, I’m a proper carnivore, okay? I just lack the chances and partner. …Giving voice to that here would make me want to cry, though.
“It looks like science guys will shine if you polish them. Just, they hardly ever get polished.”
“Hee, I wonder, should I try to polish one as well after you introduce me to someone who might be good as a raw gem?”
Hey, hey, that’s not the thinking of young girls, okay…? Since I kinda feel like they’ll start speaking about something frightening if I were to continue listening silently, I drain my remaining coffee in one go, and leave my seat.
“Okay, I think we should be off now.”
Having descended to the dungeon’s first floor, we continue towards the stairs leading to the second floor, unlike usual.
“It’s your first time to come all the way here, isn’t it?”
“Well, I’ve always headed in the opposite direction right away.”
They’re looking quite curiously around themselves, but the design of the first floor is mostly the same wherever you go. In any case, even if they’ve got zero experience, as it’s their first time, these girls are somewhere around the top thousand explorers in the world. The likes of goblins should be easy for them.
“For both of you, it’s your first time fighting goblins, right? They’re humanoid, so if you feel reluctant, don’t try to force it.”
“Well, I’ll give it a try for starters. So, that means it’s fine to hit them?” Ms. Saito says while swinging her arm with a howl. I suppose she plans to wallop them barehanded…
While shaking off my astonishment, I retrieve two compound bows from my bag. Since ancient times, it’s been a common trope for DEX-based builds to be archers. In reality I brought two so that Ms. Mitsurugi and I could use them together, but since Ms. Saito has joined in as well, I’ll stick to guarding the vicinity. Also, I have magic.
“Eh? Bows? I’ve never used one, y’know?”
“I have some experience in archery, so far as it goes, but it’s my first time using a normal bow.” 1
“Don’t worry. You two have plenty of ability due to the slimes on the first floor. As long as you memorize how to use a bow, you’ll hit your target accurately, even if it’s your first time.”
I mean, that’s how stats work, after all.
“Yep, yep. Then, let me teach you how to shoot them.”
Unlike Japanese bows, you nock an arrow on the left, and you pull the string up to your chin, and not all the way back. Afterwards, I finish by explaining how the releaser works. I’ll place my trust in their high DEX, and the fact that the bows are equipped with triggerless clickers.
“Once you pull it to the point where it clicks, aim, and release, after adding a bit of tension.”
It’s coming in handy that I researched it, after I got interested due watching that woman called Ms. Mishiro or whatever.
“Okay, let’s give it a try for a bit.”
<Detect Life> clearly differentiates between humans and monsters. I lead the girls to a place with a straying goblin, in a direction with no people.
“Oh, there’s one. Can I shoot it?”
“Go for it.”
The figure of Ms. Saito, as she draws the bow after asking, already looks appropriate. The arrow, released alongside a whooshing sound, continues to fly, as if being pulled by a string, and splendidly hits the goblin ahead of us. The goblin immediately turns into black smoke, and vanishes.
“Well done! Does it look like it’ll be okay for you?”
“Mmh, it’s from a distance, and since it’s not like they leave corpses behind, it doesn’t feel real, but, yea, probably.”
Afterwards, Ms. Mitsurugi also succeeds in her test shot. In this situation, it’s not really clear which of them has the higher DEX.
“Alright, since it looks like both of you will be okay, we’ll start the GTB search. Having said that, it’s not like I’ve done it before either.”
“Oh, I looked it up, just in case!”
“That’s a big help. Let’s start with going to a place that seems to be a den.”
I put my <Detect Life> to work, and we head to a nearby place that might be a goblin den.
“But Mr. Yoshimura, you know your way around quite well, seeing how you’re walking so quickly, don’t you? Did you possibly do a preliminary inspection before today?” She nudges my side with her elbow with a force as if telling me, “Come on, admit.”
“Hey, don’t get careless. Once we turn around that corner, there’s a community of around twenty goblins. Stay calm and don’t worry, since I’ll defeat any enemy coming closer than five meters.”
“Don’t hit me, okay? That wouldn’t be funny at all.”
“He he he, I know, I know.”
We turn the corner, and the arrows, shot by the two women, assault the goblin community almost soundlessly. In the middle of it, several goblins run in our direction, but I get rid of them with Water Lances. Both seem slightly surprised when they see the spell for the first time, but they still continue shooting their arrows until the very end.
“Okay, good job.”
While pretending to pick up the arrows, I exchange them with new arrows from my Safe, placing them into their quivers.
“I’ve really hit a lot. Next time, when I’m asked about my hobby, I think I’ll say archery.”
“I mean, look, isn’t it kinda cool? Archery. There’s also bow hunting and stuff like that, right?”
“Bow hunting? If I remember correctly, it exists in Europe and America, but it seems to be prohibited in Japan.”
“Eh? Isn’t it the same as hunting with a gun?”
“Apparently the problem stems from the fact that bows have much less power than guns.”
Killing prey with a bow is really difficult, and all kinds of problems can arise if a wounded animal gets away. Since the hunter hasn’t obtained the prey, they might try to hunt another animal without violating their quota. However, because the wounded prey will die somewhere, it’s functionally the same as if the hunter has overhunted. In Europe and America there have been complaints that this can cause the animals to suffer unnecessarily.
“In Japan it’s 100% sport. Somehow I feel like it’s a little bit cool.”
While having such a chat, we arrive at a place surrounded by rocks, where the goblins had been.
“So, I think that this is their den, but how do we look for that GTB?”
“Ah, it appears to be in normal chests, or hidden in a space covered by rocks.”
“Oh, Haru! How about this?” Ms. Saito, who had been rummaging around deeper inside, discovered a hollow space by knocking against the ground.
“How can we open this?” Ms Mitsurugi tilts her head in puzzlement.
“We’ve got a man with us for things like this, don’t we?”
It’s always the same with Ms. Saito, but oddly enough, the fact that she isn’t two-faced makes me like her even more. I guess it must be her personality.
“As you wish, milady. I shall do my utmost with my meager abilities.”
My current stats aren’t maxxed out, but I have raised them to a level that allows me to deal with any danger on the early floors. Of course I’ve left my LUC at 100. I’m pretty sure that Lady Luck will smile upon me.
Once I confirm the place, by knocking against the ground, I place my hands at the edge of the board, and lift it up in one go.
“Ooohh~. You sure pack some power despite looking so scrawny.”
“Shut up. The scrawny comment was uncalled for.”
“Oh, something’s in there.”
What Ms. Mitsurugi takes out are two potions (1). The rank 1 potions are surprisingly small. They are around one size bigger than pencils, have a cylindrical shape, and a length of approximately five centimeters. If you snap the pointed protuberance at the end, the mostly runny liquid within will stream out smoothly.
“Wow! Is that the big winner?”
“Definitely. They seem to have a fairly low probability to appear. After all, if you buy one, it’ll cost you roughly a million Yen.”
“Although rank 1 is the lowest, it’ll instantly heal simple bone fractures and ruptured muscle fibers, and with the exception of fairly extreme injuries to your face or body, it’ll completely heal any wound, without leaving any scars behind, so given your jobs, you had better take them as good luck charms.”
“Eh? It’s okay for us to take them?”
“I shall offer the first trophies to my Lady Lucks. I’ll have them turned into pendants later so that you can carry them with you.”
“Thank you very much!”
The rest of the loot is several Japanese coins, and one rusty sword.
“Well then, let’s capture several of them before the afternoon.”
“Fufufu, a million Yen, huh? I wonder whether we can find around ten more of them.”
“If you could find so many, everyone would hunt goblins.”
And thus we head to the next den.
“So what happened in the end?”
“Potions? We only found one more afterwards.”
“But, that means three in total, right? It’s the second floor, you know? Isn’t that kinda amazing?”
The four of us are surrounded by food as we sit at the counter of 『Morille』. The current course, which started with a mushroom bouillon as always, puts a highlight on chanterelle, girolle, and cèpe in several dishes, continuing over several servings. And then I freeze due to a single, plain, dish that is served nonchalantly.
“Eh, this, Ms. Miyo…shi?”
The dish, in the shape of a thin peel, that has been shaved in heaps on top of eggs, is something I’ve almost never tasted. Going by my nose, it has an aroma that reminds me of gas.
“It looks white to me?” I unconsciously ask with polite language.
“Well, it’s in season now, senpai. Look, you’re surrounded by beautiful women.”
“Don’t lie! You just wanted to eat it, right!?”
“Now then, this also calls for a careful selection of the wine──”
“Listen when others speak to you, girl.”
Watching that dialogue, Ms. Mitsurugi bursts into laughter.
“White truffles, I’ve heard Piemonte’s Barolo goes well with them.”
“Ah, that’s a fat lie, so please forget about it. I’m pretty sure that they just wanted to sell their expensive wine.”
“Hey, wait a sec. People have their own preferences. Don’t just reject them outright.”
“Well, it’s your own money. I think everyone’s free to do what they like, but…I believe that it should be a crisp white with Mineraly. Or, if you want a peculiar one, Saint-Joseph’s Marsanne blanche.”
“That sounds French.”
“It’s Rhone. Well, I hear, it really fits. Let’s try it out next time.”
“No, this is the last time we eat white truffles this year. Wallet-wise.”
“Mmh, it’s my first time here, but it’s great.” Ms. Saito says blissfully while holding her cheek.
Seriously, this girl is suited to be an actress loved by everyone. It’s her nature, though.
“Delicious! These shabby-looking mushrooms go well with shrimp, don’t they?”
“Don’t call them shabby. Well, you’re right, chanterelle don’t look all that tasty.”
“Like Mr. Yoshimura?”
“I don’t think that senpai is that spindly.”
“Hey, you girls remember who’s sponsoring today’s feast?”
“The dreamy Sir Yoshimura.”
“My lovely senpai.”
While watching that exchange, Ms. Mitsurugi tastes the white, greasy Alsace, with its faint sweetness, and laughs happily.
In the future, I’d arrange the pendants, created to insert the potion (1) into a sturdy acrylic cylinder, with a 3 mm deerskin leather strap, creating three 『Charms』 looking somewhat like crude accessories, and send them to three people, with the feeling of a master praying for the safety of his pupils.
I kinda don’t feel like Miyoshi needs one, but just in case.
In the end, the compound bows were snatched away by Ms. Saito, just as expected. She said that she was only borrowing them or something, but since she didn’t look like she had any intention to give them back, I simply gave the bows to the two as presents.
I guess she’s a Gian. 2