Chapter 39 Gathering (1)
With a heavy sound, I lay down the bag filled with today’s earnings on top of the table. 5 lizardmen and 24 goblins. Since we sold their equipments as well, our total earnings was 11 gold and 40 copper coins. Dividing this among the 4 of us, my total earnings for today was 2 gold and 85 copper coins. For something we earned in just half a day, it was pretty great.
Normally I’d be super happy at that and in happiness I’d have spent that money to eat a feast.
But right now, I could only breath out a heavy sigh. The problem was the woman in front of me.
The Imnesia continent has a lot of adventurer guilds but we go to the biggest of them all. The reason was simple, the more people that gather, the more information and request can be found. Accordingly, requests were given out on a first come, first served basis and without a certain level of ability, you’d be unable to make any money.
Inside such an adventurer guild, we—–or rather, the girl in front of me stood out like a sore thumb. Black hair that were uncommon in this world and ruby red eyes as if they were made of blood. An almost abnormally white skin and an expression devoid of emotions. It’s the woman we found sleeping inside that crystal in that cave.
“Oi, you awake?”(renji)
She does reply whenever I ask something but I couldn’t sense any life in her eyes. She simply looked at me blankly solely because I called out to her. Whether it be her condition right now or the fact that she was inside a crystal, it simply felt too suspicious.
Right now she was wearing ms Francesca’s spare clothes along with my old mantle on top. They were thick, dull looking clothes and trousers along with my worn out mantle. Yet somehow, it didn’t seem to reduce her beauty in any way. The gazes of the men in guild was a proof to that. Everytime a guy passed by, they’d definitely give her a side glance. Why are they even trying to hide their gazes when it’s a s clear as day though? Well, this woman didn’t seem to care about it at all anyway.
It was really a pain to get from that cave back to the capital. After all, she was totally naked inside the crystal. Even we didn’t carry any stuff not necessary for monster hunting. Basically, we didn’t have anything to let her wear. But we couldn’t let her walk naked either so I lent my mantle and to hunt goblins just for some boots for her to wear. I had Ms Francesca go back to the capital first and prepare some clothes for her. It was really mentally tiring till then.
If someone saw me walking around with a nude woman, even if this world’s laws were laxer than Japan, my own comrades would never forgive me. Worst case, I wouldn’t get to see the sun rise another day.
[It’s as if she’s dead…..I can’t sense any life from her.]
Seriously. Agreeing with Ermenhilde inside my head, I sat down. Ms Francesca and Feirona’s gazes turned towards me but I could only sense fatigue from it. It seems they weren’t able to get any info out of this woman. Like Ermenhilde said, her dead-like ruby eyes turned towards me. But I couldn’t sense any kind of clear will from her eyes. But as she looked at me straight without averting her gaze at all………it felt as if she was looking directly inside the deepest portions of my heart.
“For the time being, can you at least tell us your name?”(Renji)
“Yes, your name.”
Going by her appearance, she looks about 20 years old. Well, there are beings like elves and vampires as well so appearances can’t really be relied on. She was pretty tall, almost the same as Ms Francesca. Even her figure was better than the average woman. She might be losing a bit in chest area but her curves were definitely visible. I can’t help it, she was completely nude back in the cave after all. I couldn’t not see her even if I wanted to. It’s pretty normal as a man to be honest.
Her blank gaze slowly turned away. I followed her gaze but it wasn’t focused at anything particular. She was simply looking outside the window into the bust city streets filled with people. There was nothing else.
“I think I was referred to as Solnea.”
Both Feirona and Ms Francesca’s voices overlapped. And, I as well, shook my head at her way of speaking. It’s so weird, as if she’s talking about something unrelated to her. Maybe due to the atmosphere she gave off, it felt like, rather than a woman, she was simply an empty vessel shaped in the figure of a woman. I don’t think she’s hiding anything from us either. It didn’t feel like that. She just spoke in such an indifferent manner that it gave off such an impression to me. It felt like seeing a robot that appears in a low budget B-grade movie. I think Ermenhilde is correct in saying that you couldn’t sense any life from her.
In the first place, the question arises how did she survive inside that crystal. A woman living inside a crystal that was in a cave that appeared out of nowhere. I took out a crystal fragment from my pocket. The moment she woke up, that crystal shattered into pieces. Into many small pieces, like the one currently in my hand. I couldn’t sense any magical energy from it wither. It was simply a pretty looking crystal. According to Ermenhilde, there was very slight magical energy inside it when the woman was still inside the crystal though.
I brought back one of the fragments but I doubt it’d be of any use. And with its small size, it probably wouldn’t sell well either.
“What is it, Francesca?”(sol) (T/N: I’m gonna shorten Solnea to ‘sol’ while tagging the dialogues.)
Saying it again, Solnea pointed towards Ms Francesca. After that came Feirona and Mururu. At the end, she pointed towards me and spoke my name as well.
“Was I wrong?”(sol)
“No, you weren’t but..”
“Somehow, it’s putting me off.”(mururu)
On hearing Mururu’s words, while knowing that was rude, I ended up agreeing with her anyway. She must have learnt our name while listening to our conversations but what was important was the fact that it made me feel wary of her. She named herself and spoke ours as well. To make us feel wary of her from just that must be thanks to the fact that there was still no change in her expression or atmosphere when she said that.
It made me feel like I was looking at a lull sea. No change at all. No matter how far you look, there was only calm, unmoving seawater. There were no waves known as emotions. I wonder if the depths of the oceans were also as weird as this woman.
Speaking that, her pale white beautiful finger slowly moved to point towards my pocket under the table. Where Ermenhilde was.
“………Can you hear it?”(renji)
And as expected, she again answered indifferently as usual. I purposefully showed on my face that I seemed to be wary of her but still, there was no wave in her sea of emotions. She simply, silently, kept on looking at me, as if her ruby red eyes were looking at something deep inside me. It was me who averted his gaze first. Somehow, I am really bad with these type of people. Like, I can’t converse with them properly, and it felt, like only they knew everything about me.
“…….What exactly, are you?”(renji)
“I do not know.”(sol)
“That again, eh.”
She’s been like this from the time she woke up in that cave. Why was she in that cave? Why was she sleeping inside a crystal? What even was she? On asking any of these, I would only get the answer that she didn’t know.
Feirona gave tired sigh.
“What am I? who am I? Why did I wake up?………..”
Her ruby red eyes looked downwards. There, I felt a slight change in her emotions. Was it anxiety? Or fear?
“I do not know.”
She telling the truth. Somehow I felt that.
“Rather than not knowing, maybe you just don’t remember it?”(renji)
She replied in very soft voice. When she finally looked back up again, she looked at me with her usual cold eyes again.
“I do not know that either.”(sol)
“………You don’t know if you have just forgotten it all or not?”(fran)
Miss Francesca questioned her. When I looked at Feirona, he was frowning. On realizing that I was looking, he looked at me back with sharp eyes. Implying that he left it to me to decided what we were going to do about this woman. This is why I hate being the party leader. After hearing everyone’s opinions, the final decision would, in the end, come to me.
I doubt Feirona wants to get more into this trouble. It was already enough that we helped bring her back from the cave to the capital. That counts as helping her, right? My intuition told me that I shouldn’t stick my head deeper into this.
“Do you have no memories at all?”(renji)
She reacted a bit on my question. As if thinking of something, she looked away again.
Just then, the guild became a bit more noisy suddenly. Getting curious, when I looked towards the swinging doors…….there was woman standing there who looked familiar.
Light brown, ruffled hair and blue eyes that seemed to lack any kind of motivation. Though shorter than Ms Francesca or Solnea, she was still slightly taller than average. Her body dressed in a black one-piece dress was on the slender side but it didn’t mean that she was lacking in womanly features. A white apron was wrapped around her thin waist and she gave off a scary level of charm that could pull any man’s eye. She also wore high laced boots as well. Her longish skirt fluttered a bit gived a slight peek at her beautiful legs underneath.
If I recall, she turned 22 or 23 this year.
She seemed to be looking for someone as her frilly hair band swayed around. If she would do her hair properly and have a bit more energetic looking eyes, it would be absolutely perfect.
Making you feel like that, this maid, that seemed to be lacking something, stood there.
Yes. It was a maid. A maid that totally didn’t belong in such a guild…….a maid that seemed to be lacking motivation. My eyes met with this maid, making me panic as I quickly averted my gaze. Only to meet eyes Mururu with equally blank eyes, though not as blank as Solnea.
Saying that, I lowered my waist in my chair trying to run away. But faster than that, the aforementioned maid was standing right beside our table. I could only sigh seeing my comrades incredible cheats yet again. Even this girl, who wasn’t even a combat type, possessed more physical ability than me. I just can’t help but sigh at that, can i?
Unable to even react to her movements, both Feirona and Mururu could only look at the maid blankly. Ms Francesca was surprised and Solnea, as expected, remained emotionless and just looked at her.
But the maid, without paying their gazes any mind, looked down at me with a somewhat coldness in her eyes. If it was a guy with a certain specific sexual disposition, he’d be thanking her just for that gaze.
Unfortunately, I did not have such fetishes.
“You’re so heartless. Did you forget about me?”(maid)
“Before that, why are you in maid clothes?”(renji)
This maid woman. Her name was Kudou Rin. Just like me, she was summoned from our world. One of the 13 Heroes, why the hell was she wearing a maid uniform?…….I can’t understand at all. There was the sudden reunion as well; my head was in total confusion.
Realizing my gaze, she gave a slight bow while holding the edges of her skirt. If she had smiled right there, it would have been completely perfect but her expression was as usual unenergetic. The gap was simply too big. Apologise to all the real maids in the world!
“Does it suit me?”(rin)
[fumu, those clothes are cute.]
“Yes, the clothes are cute indeed.”
Maybe she herself knew that it didn’t really suit her since she didn’t say anything more. But it did seem like her mood went a bit down though. But the clothes really are nice you know? If she’d put some effort into herself as well, the clothes would suit her more.
While thinking that, I looked around. A maid that came to the guild out of nowhere and bowed to an adventurer………We’re standing out in all the bad ways. But this girl doesn’t care about any of that. Saying that she simply does things ‘at her own pace’ may sound better but in truth, she simply can’t read the mood. She doesn’t even care about others. Herself, and her comrades. Only they were her priority. Everything else came afterwards. It’s pretty easy to understand personality but I feel that it’s pretty extreme. Even right now, only I am visible in her eyes. She isn’t even looking at Ms Francesca and the others sitting on the same table. Neither is she aware of the curious gaze from everyone else in the guild right now. In her world, there were only me, her and Ermenhilde right now.
“For the time being, at least take a seat. I’ll introduce you to my comrades.”(renji)
Let’s start from there. If I didn’t introduce Ms Francesca and others myself, she wouldn’t even notice them till the very end.
Saying that, I looked towards the others sitting with me at the table at which Kudou also looked at them. Her reaction was basically- ‘Oh, someone was here?’ Like that.
While looking at them and being urged by me, she sat down on a chair. Seeing such a reaction from her while dressed in maid clothing is just weird. As expected this girl has something missing in her head. And, Ms Francesca and Feirona were too stunned from the impact. Even Mururu seemed to be troubled while deciding how to react. Only Solnea remained the same, emotionless as usual.
“The Elf is Feirona, the beastwoman is Mururu, the magician Ms Francesca. And this is Solnea, who we met just a while ago.”(renji)
“Oh yeah, I heard about them from Yuuko-chan. Yamada-kun’s current party.”(rin)
“And this is Kudou Rin.”
“Nice to meet you Elf-san, Beastwoman-chan, Magician-chan, and black haired girl.”
[You haven’t changed, have you Rin?]
“Humans don’t change that easily you know? I am me. Others are others.”
What kind of naming sense is that. I shook my head. She’s rude as usual. Maybe surprised from Kudou’s reaction, Ms Francesca looked towards me.
“Rin Kudou-sama……..is it?”(fran)
“Don’t know who you’re referring to but yes I’m Kudou Rin, magician-chan.”(rin)
With a speed that couldn’t be foreseen going by the lax expression on Kudou’s face, she grabbed Ms Francesca’s hand over the table. Just as Ms francesca raised a voice confused from what’s happening, I stepped on Kudou’s foot beneath the table almost at the same time. SInce she’s wearing boots it probably didn’t hurt her much but she let go of Ms Francesca’s hand.
“As usual, you have cute women around you.”(rin)
“I’m not going to ask what you mean by ‘as usual’ but as usual, you’re fast to move as well eh?”(renji)
“But she’s a cute girl. I can’t help but make a move on her can I?”
“……..don’t say that right in front of the person in question.”
In that momentary gap, this time Kudou tried to grab Mururu’s hand who was sitting opposite of her. But as expected of Mururu, she quickly withdrew her hand and beneath the table before Kudou could grab it.
Instead of being surprised, Kudou made a happy expression seeing Mururu’s reaction. She’s a really bad mannered maid. She should get scolded by her master. But, oh well, she’s her own master here after all. That’s the kind of personality she has.
“So, what’s going on? You didn’t come to the guild for no reason have you?”(renji)
“I came to get you, Yamada-kun. Yuuko-chan is calling.”
“Aah, I see.”
Right, Souichi has already reached the castle it seems. Due to Solnea’s appearance, I completely forgot about him. I guess they need to talk about the demon we captured back at Magic city.
There’s Solnea’s case as well, as well as this demon. My head hurts. All this difficult thinking is making me depressed. I’m pretty sure none of this is going to lead to something fun. If I were to use a term used in our original world, this was clearly a ‘flag’ for me.
“How did you know I was here, at the guild, by the way?”(renji)
“Ara, there’s no way I’ll mistake where Yamada-kun is ever, will I?”(rin)
Saying that, slowly, casually came near me and leaned her body over me. Raising a small voice, Ms Francesca’s cheeks turned red. Finding her expression interesting, Kudou began to come even closer only to quickly dodge away as I raised my fist to hit her in the head. As usual, her reaction speed is incredible. Damnit.
“Don’t play around. You probably used Ermenhilde’s magical energy as a guide, didn’t you?”(renji)
“You’re no fun…..”(rin)
Kudou was extremely sensitive to the flow of magical energy. Especially if it was our, the summoned ones’ magical energy, she could sense us even while being far away.
In my case, since I have no magical energy, I have Ermenhilde. She must have used that to get here.
Holding carious titles like [Metalsmith] [Item Creator], Kudou forges iron, while sensing its magical energy, and turns them into items. According to her, by doing that, she’s able to create items of far better quality than those made by anyone else.
I have not much knowledge about item or weapon creation but going by what an acquaintance of mine, who is a craftsman, said, her methods are the same as what dwarves or elves use. That is, the forging techniques of dwarves along with the magic bestowal techniques of Elves. Combined with the creativity of a human from another world. That’s what Kudou is. During our journey, I remember her making all sorts of dangerous things like bombs, poison etc etc.
“Then, let’s part ways for today, shall we?”(renji)
Feirona agreed to my proposal. If Utano-san is calling me, I can’t not go. She rarely calls me for personal reasons after all.
While wishing that this isn’t another sort of trouble, I sighed. At the same time, I also want to talk about Solnea as well. The girl who knows nothing except her name and awoke from inside a crystal. No matter how I look at it, it’s way too suspicious.
“What is it?”(sol)
The moment I looked away for a bit, Kudou’s gaze turned towards Solnea but Solnea’s reaction was as usual. An emotionless voice. Unreflecting red ruby eyes. I wonder what she thought about her as JKudou quickly lost interest in her.
“I’ll go back first.”
Saying just that, she left the guild. I could only feel sympathy for all the men eyeing Kudou from behind as she left. That girl prefers women over men. And the hurdle to become Kudou’s ideal partner was too high. For someone who seems to be lacking energy all the time, that girl expects her partner to have way too many qualities. That’s the kind of woman she is. She’ll have an irritating personality even if one was to date her I think. And if someone still wanted to date her after knowing all that, he/she is either an angel or has a very weird fetish.
But still, that was strange. I looked at Solnea. Even with her expression less face and emotionless eyes, she’s still definitely a beauty, anyone would agree. I was confused why Kudou didn’t make a move on her. No, that was good in its own way I guess, especially for Solnea.
“Sorry about that. It seems I have stuff to attend to so I’ll be leaving first.”(renji)
“No, no need to worry about us.”(fran)
“yeah, let’s split it up quickly.”
Saying that, I split our reward in 4 parts. And I picked one gold coin from my portion and handed it to Solnea.
“Go buy some clothes with that. I’ll come to take back my mantle later.”(renji)
[Oi, but your debt………]
“Don’t worry too much, we can earn as much money as we want later.”
[..…….I’m sacred for what’s gonna happen.]
Solnea closely inspected the gold coin’s both sides blankly.
“That’s a gold coin. You can buy things with that.”(renji)
“Is that so?”(sol)
[So she doesn’t even know that much……]
I could only shake my head. Mururu was the same but, do I have to teach another one how money is used? When my gaze turned towards Ms Francesca, she gave a troubled nod.
“Sorry, but if you have time, please look after her.”(renji)
Finally, I glanced at Feirona asking him to keep Solnea under surveillance. I don’t really like this, but I can’t just leave her alone like this either can I? Not to mention, this Solnea has way too many mysteries around her.
Giving a wry smile, Feirona gave a nod. To understand my thoughts without even saying anything, he’s a really reliable comrade.
“Also, if you’re going to rent a room in an inn, tell me where. I’ll be worried if you suddenly dissapeared.”
Finally, I stood up. Though I pretty much have asked Ms Francesca and others to keep her under constant surveillance.
Feirona who understood that, gave a shrug with a troubled expression. Well, it’d be okay if this was just me being over conscious of her.
Putting today’s reward inside my purse, I left the guild.
As expected, I could feel envious gazes from all the men inside. Even though I don’t have a relation of that kind with any of them. In the first place, isn’t Feirona a man as well? Why am I the only one getting all the hate?
While thinking of such things, I finally was outside and at the entrance, Kudou was waiting for me. Was she being flirted with, she was surrounded by many men.
Giving a sidelong glance at her, I ignored her and began to walk away. At the same time, Kudou slipped through the encirclement of men instantly. What incredible agility. The men were feeling surprised seeing the maid in front of them suddenly disappearing. What a wasteful sue of the cheat-like physical abilities she has.
“How troublesome, you should’ve helped me, Hero.”(rin)
“That would be even more troublesome. Also, who the hell’s a Hero? I am not going to do anything as embarrassing as that.”
“Even though you used to, back then.”
“Back then, not anymore.”
That was one of my mistakes of my youth. Definitely.
[……..You guys resemble each other a lot, at times.]
While hearing Ermenhilde’s sigh mixed words, I thought about it. Even I am not as unmotivated as Kudou is, I think.
I sighed seeing Kudou return to her usual way of talking as compared to her talkativeness while in front of Ms Francesca. What a façade she has. She gets down just by not having beautiful women beside her. While in front of Utano-san or Aya, she’d tease me and at other times, she’d make moves on other women. And when no one’s around, she’d laze around at her own pace. What a troublesome personality she has. That hasn’t changed at all from back then. Well, certainly, a person’s personality doesn’t change in just 1 year.
That Kudou, with her usual unenergetic voice spoke up. I’m still feeling uncomfortable due to the surrounding gazes you know? A maid and an adventurer. We really stand out too much.
“Who was that black haired girl?”(rin)
“Don’t know. I met her today. Her name’s Solnea it seems.”(renji)
Or rather, I definitely introduced her as well, didn’t I? Did she not even hear me properly?
[Did you sense something?]
Even though she was the one who asked, she answered with lack of interest. I have a lot to say about her attitude but I know she’s just that kind of person. I’ll only get tired if I didn’t get used to it.
“Leaving that aside, why the hell are you in a maid uniform?”(renji)
“It’s easy to move in and it’s no problem even if it gets dirty. Also, even if I sleep with it on, the wrinkles on the dress don’t stand out.”(rin)
What a dreamless, hopeless answer. Seriously, apologise to all the maids in the world.