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KENS Chapter 13

Chapter 13 Hero and the City of Magicians (2)

As I stepped outside the thick forest, I could suddenly see the wide blue sky as if the world itself had changed.

Since the sun was bright, I covered my eyes with my hand and slightly squinted due to the light. Maybe because my action felt somewhat funny, the handsome young man that took the request with me slightly loosened his cheeks.

Thought it was just that, his smile also suddenly felt as bright as the shining sun.

So this is what an actual handsome man is like, I sighed inside my mind. I wonder if this was jealousy I felt.

But still, even though his gender was the same, I still felt that he looked beautiful.

“Thanks for guiding me around the forest. If something happens, I’ll be counting on you again.”(renji)

“I’m just happy to have found a human that also treats forests preciously as well.”

On his flowing golden hair was a plain circlet with a jade embedded in the centre.

Every time the wind blew slightly, his golden hair flew around and it felt as if my whole vision had been covered with gold.

Blonde hair and blue eyes. A well-featured appearance and tall height. Wearing green clothes from head to toe, he also wore a deep wooden coloured mantle to help him slip into the forest.

And above all, the most striking feature were his pointed ears.

Elf. The protectors of the forest, as called by the country of Spirits. An Elf, who supposedly hate humans, was standing in front of me and smiling.

Even though he’s a guy, his smile still slightly raised my heartbeat. Even though I’m normal and like only women.

“Treating forests preciously or whatever, I don’t really know about that. I simply want to avoid damaging the area in my own way.”(renji)

“That alone is enough. Humans and Dwarves, cut down forests more than required but you are different.”

“Well, I wonder. I don’t think my any different from a normal human though.”(renji)

Saying that, I shrugged my shoulders.

Elves hate humans. That was common sense in society. Even I think it’s like that. And in fact, we never really had any kind of conversation even after taking the request at first.

There are many theories as to why Elves hate humans but I think it’s because humans cut down a lot of trees.

Even if they don’t cut trees there were many vast plains. Considering Imnesia’s population, there’d be no problem in finding places to live.

But even then, humans would cut down forests and expand their own territory.

Animals are chased out of their homes, the ecosystem collapses, and the resentment gives birth to monsters.

Cleared away forests become turned into distorted territories of monsters. The maddened forests become a living place for monsters. These habitats of monsters further invite more monsters and the weak monsters become prey to the stronger ones. And this leads to the birth of an even more powerful monster.

That’s the complaint Elves have been giving. That it was the humans and the Dwarves that were giving birth to more and more monsters.

The excuse from humans was that trees/wood is a necessary ingredient in building houses, is used as a fuel and is also required in making daily necessities like furniture etc.

Though iron manufacturing was pretty high levelled here, it still needed fire to be made use of which comes from wood. After all, there are no scientific fuels in this different world.

Wood was something that was absolutely needed in the daily life of humans.

Both sides’ opinion could be said to correct. That’s why, even now Elves and Humans maintained a certain distance between them.

That gap was not something I could fill up, and neither do I feel like doing something like that. Humans and Elves. Restoring and mending relationships between different races was the job of the royalty.

“But well, it’d be nice if they could at least individually get along sometimes.”(renji)

“Well I wonder about that. Even I am not really friendly with humans after all.”

“That’s fine.”

There’s a skill to getting along with someone.

What should one do to get someone you hate to work with you? There may be no correct answer to that but you can’t say that every method is wrong either.

In my case, I think I try to make the other person interested in the individual called Yamada Renji as a single person. The only reason why Elves and Humans hate each other is because they simply don’t try to understand each other, I think.

And true enough, I barely know anything about this elf beside me. I only know what I’ve read in books and what I’ve heard from other people.

Elves are called as the people of the forest and treasure nature above all.

But the truth might not be exactly what the books say. But to be called as the people of the forest, it’s clear that they hold much more interest and love for forests than humans do.

For example, the way of walking in the forest. I don’t know which way is correct but I at least try to be careful to not step on roots or greenery.

I try to focus on walking on bare ground or weeds as much as I can.

For example, the way of defeating goblins. So that their blood doesn’t contaminate nature, use bare hands instead of knives, that too, use surprise attacks to finish them with a single blow on their necks.

In time, their corpses will return to the earth and become food for the animals in the forest. But the equipment worn by these goblins is different.

So, I took them off and recovered. Well, I plan to sell it after reaching the city though. It’s an important source of my income after all.

Ermenhilde called me a [Bandit] and whatnot but it’s for money.

After I did all that, the elf took some interest in me. In what I was doing. Well, from an Elf’s point of view I might have seemed like some eccentric………well, anyone would see me as an eccentric, I think. Ermenhilde sighed who knows how many times due to that.

After gaining his interest, I explained my actions and then explained that I was also interested in an Elf’s sense of values.

When I told that I was interested, the other party would also automatically generate some kind of interest in me.

“I’ll be happy if humans like you who treat forests preciously would increase.”

“Me too. Nature is meant to be cherished.”

And, never deprecate something the other party holds dear.

For an Elf, it’s nature. For a Dwarf, it’s earth, and his smithy.

Anyone would be irritated if someone were to speak badly of something you hold dear. As long as you can abide by that rule, you’ll automatically gain the goodwill of the other person.

That’s how you socialise with someone.

Be ready to compromise somewhat. Be the one who starts a conversation once. Be the one to extend your hand. It’s something very obvious.

“Then, human. If it’s in our fates, let us take a job together again.”

“Yeah, I’ll be counting on you at that time once more.”(renji)

Saying that, the handsome elf returned back into the forest.

The objective was to subjugate goblins inside the forest.

Mine was to collect materials for alchemy inside the forest.

Doing both the requests together, today’s earnings should be pretty great.

My mood became better. After I confirmed that the Elf had disappeared deep into the forest, I breathed a sigh.

[Rather than being over considerate towards others, won’t it be fine if you simply stay indifferent?]

“That’ll be even more tiring. Journeying together without any conversation would be hell.”

[Renji, you have me don’t you?]

“If I talked with you in front of other, people will treat me as a retard.”

[……..muu]

When I said that, Ermenhilde was unable to say anything back.

“It’s fun talking with you. But, it’s not cool to get the cold shoulder from others.”

[Then just make it so that everyone can hear me—–]

“Not happening. I’ll stand out to much. Too much trouble.”

[So that’s the actual reason eh……..]

I shouldered the bag filled with the requested ingredients and the equipments of the goblins.

Inside my pocket were numerous fangs that’ll be the proof of subjugation.

Now then, how much will I earn today? The iron armour etc are pretty heavy but it’s more fun to think about the money.

.

.

.

“As expected, you earn much more in a city eh?”(renji)

[………I wonder why I feel like crying.]

It seems Ermenhilde is still not happy of the fact that I was took armour from goblins. While ignoring Ermenhilde’s voice, I sat down on one of the provided chairs in the guild and took a look at the memos in which requests were written.

Today’s earnings have been 35 copper coins. It’s an amount that won’t appear in a rural village’s guild. Cities sure are nice, really.

Well, if you properly subjugate monsters, you can earn at least 1 gold coin everyday. But it’s super tiring so I won’t.

Thinking that, I once again felt that adventurer really is a profitable job. It showed why this occupation won’t die out even though there’s a constant threat to the life of the person.

“I want to keep on earning like this for some time.”

[I want to kill more monsters if possible.]

You’re too violent, partner. Lightly hitting Ermenhilde inside my pocket, I turned the pages of the memos.

I’m looking for an ingredient collecting job with a good reward.

Since this is the Magic City, there were many ingredient gathering requests for magical experiments that stood out but there’s also danger involved in them as well. If only they were something easy like gathering herbs. I sighed.

The ingredients used in magical experiments were mostly things that possessed magical energy inside them. That too, the quantity alone wasn’t important, the purity of magical energy was also important apparently. Though, I’m not really knowledgeable in that aspect.

In the first place, I’m bad with things like alchemy and modern science experiments. Rather than thinking too much while sitting in front of a desk with a flask, I prefer to go and move around my body. But, I’m not a muscle-headed idiot, I think. I want to think that way at least.

By the way, the ingredients I gathered today is called spirit grass.

It wasn’t some normal grass that was used to make ointments etc but could actually restore magical energy if boiled and drunk so it was wanted as an ingredient for alchemy.

These miraculous things grow in sacred grounds—–or rather, the so called power spots.

True the rewards are nice but in such places monsters are strong as well. Maybe because they are feeding on such herbs or maybe it’s simply because of staying in such power spots, these monsters are strong and tough. Sometimes there are even some which have huge bodies. If I were to speak in game terminology, even a goblin would be of a much higher level.

So it was obvious that the reward was high. That’s why I was looking for requests that were safe yet gave good rewards.

“Which one should I accept?”

[If you’re not going to be particular about it, does it even matter what you pick?]

As I was hesitating, Ermenhilde’s voice resounded in my head.

As if it’s that simple! I rebutted inside my head. I may have some confidence with fighting but that’s just that. With dangerous jobs comes the risk to my life. Unfortunately, I have no intention to take such a risk.

For some reason, everyone around me wants me to fight like a hero or something. It’s really troublesome.

The number of times I almost died during the journey to subjugate the demon god. Just remembering it makes me feel sick.

Killing strong monsters is the job of brave and hero protagonists. And unfortunately, I’m not one of them. That’s why, no matter how much Ermenhilde demands me to, I could only shrug my shoulders.

“Oh, this one might be nice.”

The one I found was a request the same as before, to gather spirit grass from the forest.

The reward isn’t bad either. I think, I’ll ask that elf again to guide me around that forest.

[You look like you’re having fun.]

“I’m scared of danger after all.”

[fuun]

I brought out Ermenhilde, who had started sulking, and patted the rim of the medal.

I want to find a way of life for you that is different from being just a weapon. Thinking that, I smiled wryly but it didn’t reach my partner so no reply came.

Even though you have a proper consciousness and will, you still live like a weapon. Is it weird of me to think like that?

………..If I say that to Ermenhilde, I’ll get scolded though.

But really, I want to treat Ermenhilde not as a weapon but as a partner.

“It’s the best if you can earn money safely, you know?”

Near the city there’s an old forest which is called as the forest of magical energy. It’s the place where I went together with that handsome Elf just a while back.

The trees were thick and as the name suggested, it was a place filled with magical energy. You can get a lot of magical ingredients there but at the same time the danger from monsters is also high.

The vegetation that has lived long enough attain life and become Treants and Mandragoras.

Mandragora—-it’s of the same type as the plant that is called mandrake in our world.

In this world, suitable for a fantasy world, it’s a carrot-like monster with 2 legs and leaves on its head. On being pulled from the ground, it runs away at full speed.

They say that you’ll die if you hear its scream but there’s nothing like that. It’s irritatingly noisy and will summon its friends though.

I remember that it took a lot of courage to pull it from the ground for the first time. My elf guide began to laugh at me for that. But I didn’t feel embarrassed. It’s the same for everyone for the first time.

“Mandragora, Alraune…….they’re all troublesome ingredients.”

[—it’s the Magic City after all. Aren’t these ingredients used for alchemy normally?]

Its voice was still sullen but it finally started talking back to me again so I once again patted the medal. There was no response. It seems it is still in a bad mood.

“Is there nothing which could be a bit safer?”

There are requests for gathering herbs to heal illnesses etc but all of them are cheap. I’ll collect them during my journey and it’ll be fine as long as there isn’t some war suddenly or something.

But, Mandragora’s leaves, seeds and roots. The places where these can be gathered are limited. Experiments can take place when war isn’t going on as well. In fact, there are experiments that can only be done in safer times.

………as expected, the bigger the city the more dangerous the jobs will also be.

What should I do? I flicked Ermenhilde with my thumb. It was tails. I ended up sighing.

“Let’s stop here for today.”

[You aren’t taking any new jobs?]

“It’s dangerous alone after all.”

[There’s barely any job for an adventurer that doesn’t have any danger though?]

That’s true, I shrugged.

But it’s a fact that it’ll be dangerous alone. I have trouble against lot of enemies and not to mention that I’m not familiar with the forest. I’ll have to hire an Elf or a Ranger or I’ll have no confidence in returning back without getting lost.

I do have mapped the geography of the forest in my head but I really want to avoid any risk of getting stranded inside the forest and dying.

Thinking that, I turned the memos again.

“Oh.”

[Hm?]

Herb gathering. The reward was also good.

The details were to go to the entrance of the forest and gather some herbs.

It’s troublesome to gather herbs so the person put up a request in the guild to get someone to accompany them. The client really is whimsical.

Well I don’t really mind that so I checked the client.

“…………”

[What happened? Why did you stop talking suddenly?]

Client Aya Fuyou.

It’s name I definitely know. I closed the memo book.

“……the client was Aya.”

[……..pfft.]

Don’t laugh goddamnit!

For some reason, it seems Aya knows that I’m in the city. She must have learnt that from Miss Francesca.

Since I never explicitly told her to not say anything, she must have talked about me as I was their fellow [God Slayer].

Well, I don’t really mind that and neither do I find this way of looking for me through request bad either.

“But seriously, she really has a piece missing somewhere.”

What would she have done if I had not noticed this request?

She should have simply put up a request to find me by name. Well, that’ll be troublesome for me in its own way though. I don’t want to stand out after all.

[Seriously, she really resembles you a lot.]

“……I’m not that careless/absentminded.”

Probably. I whispered lightly.

I think heard Ermenhilde sighing but let’s act as if I didn’t hear that.

Aya. Fuyou Aya.

One of the God Slayers that travelled with me.

Called by some exaggerated name like Grand Magus, she the Hole Digging Magician no.1. No.2 is Miss Francesca……..I think.

Pitfalls are convenient so please popularize it.

“She really is giving a pretty big reward. It’s almost double the normal.”

[That’s how much she wants to do a job with you, right?]

For some reason, Ermenhilde said in an amazed voice.

Did I do something bad? I don’t remember doing or saying something like that though.

While unsatisfied, I tore out the memo and put it in my pocket.

The details were to gather herbs. The reward was 10 copper coins. It’s an amount which is double of that of the market price.

I ended up sighing at that.

“As usual, she doesn’t have any idea about market prices either……..”

She’d buy expensive things at their given rates and never tries to bargain. Well, from a merchant’s point of view that’s a good thing.

A normal herb gathering quest would give about 5 copper coins. She should have at least put it at 7 copper coins or something.

Someone else could have taken it before I even saw that, you know.

[Things like market prices, Renji doesn’t know them either.]

“There’s no such thing.”

[Are those the words of the man that sold a Mithril Sword dirt cheap?………..]

“I was having money troubles back then so that was fine.Yup.”

[….haah.]

In the first place, I have no use for a Mithril sword. It’s a waste of resources.

My skill with the sword is only slightly above the normal soldier. It could be a bit higher or lower than that though.

“Rather than that, it’s Aya’s request. Aya’s.”

[That’s right, it’s Aya’s request. Aya’s.]

It was a complete fed up voice. I’m used to hearing it but it still hurt me a bit.

“What should I do?”

[You won’t accept it?]

“No, I’ll accept..”

It seems she has been appearing many times after the classes were over so there might be many requests prepared that I might pick up I think. How cute. Though, I’ll die if I wasn’t the actual objective for this though. Out of sheer embarrassment.

I think, at least.

“But, will the reward increase if I wait till tomorrow again?”

[…….let alone being dropped inside a hole, nobody will complain even if you get burned to death or have lightning fall on you.]

Will I really have to face that?

It seems Ermenhilde really was worried about that so I felt a chill up my spine.

True, Aya has a low boiling point. She’s always getting angry at Souichi, or rather, hitting him.

It’s one thing if its just skinship between childhood friends but if you add magic into that, it’s a completely different thing. She really can make lightning fall on someone.

When all the men had tried to peek during the bath, one really fell upon us. It’s was a miracle that we weren’t burned to death as well. I alone was also especially lectured by Utano-san as well though.

It sure is troublesome to be an adult. I think. Don’t peek if there’s a woman’s bath. It’s a savage different world we’re living in, I think it’s fine to act without restraint sometimes. It helps clear your heart and mind, I think.

[You’re thinking about weird things again aren’t you?]

“……are you an esper?”

I sighed.

“Well, let’s put Aya’s request on hold for now.”

I want to see how far the reward will increase. Well, not that I’d actually take the reward from her in the first place.

It’d be uncool for an adult to receive small change from a child.

That’s why, I’m putting Aya’s request on hold out of pure curiosity. For the time being, I’ll simply take the memos so that other adventurers don’t take it.

[If it’s Aya, she might even put up gold coins as a reward.]

“If that happens, I’ll get scolded by Utano-san the next time we meet.”

[Let’s hope it ends with just a lecture. Just be sure to give me to some other person when that happens.]

“…….We’re supposed to share each other’s pains and gains, partner.”

Saying that, I exited the guild.

Now then, I stretched my body. Though I was talking in whispers, I talked with Ermenhilde a bit too much so the gazes from others are hurting me a bit. The number of people inside the guild was less but it’s not like it was empty.

I really did it again, I felt depressed again.

“After earning a bit more, let’s go to the royal capital next.”

[Before that, be sure to meet Aya and the others, alright?]

“I know.”

I flicked my worrywart partner with my finger.

It was Heads. Yeah.

“It’ll be fine. We’ll meet.”

Well, it’s a bit awkward to meet them again after a one whole year though.

What should I talk about, how should I act, how should I greet them, etc.

Such anxieties are there, that’s why I might delay it a bit.

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