Enjoy the chapter~
Chapter 2 – Lusha’s Regret
Returning to the surface from the Undersea Dungeon, Lusha and I came to a nearby village. The outer perimeter of the village was surrounded by a simple fence to keep wild animals from entering. I thought it would be difficult to defend if monsters attacked, but even though the Sea of Trees was nearby, folks said that weak monsters rarely came close.
「I thought it was a small village, but it’s quite big.」
「It is. It’s very close to the Sea of Trees, and for some reason a lot of adventurers are here.」
According to Lusha, the general store was fully stocked, and there was also a simple food stall. It’s a small village, so there’s only one inn with a large dining area, but the food stall adds some other options. It’s nice to be able to choose what you want to eat.
We were planning to stay overnight in that village and go through the Sea of Trees to the Apricot continent the next day.
「Hmm, seems it’s just the one inn here.」
「Looks like it. Let’s rent a room and get some dinner.」
The two-story inn is near the entrance of the village. The restaurant is on the first floor, and it’s a bit crowded. My nose is tickled by delicious smells, so I figured, why don’t we just eat here instead of going outside?
I took a leisurely look at the menu while Lusha handled the inn reservation. There was no pre-prepared meal, so we had a choice of several kinds of main dishes, served with alcohol. Oh, I see ― it becomes a bar at night. Then in the morning, they’ll serve a healthy breakfast with bread and soup.
「Well, I’ll be looking forward to breakfast. For tonight, I think I’d like to have that meat sandwich we saw earlier.」
I remembered the food stall just opposite from this inn had what looked like a delicious-looking meat sandwich. Lusha had just finished reserving our room and joined me.
「From the stall across the street. The food it had looked pretty good.」
「If you say so! Let’s eat there, then.」
I took the room key from Lusha and left our luggage there. We quickly headed across the street to the food stall.
When I went in and ordered, the food was served as kebabs. The bread was packed with a considerable volume of vegetables and meat. As soon as I had a bite of it, the intense flavor of the meat spread through my mouth. The spicy sauce was appetizing and made you want to keep eating it forever.
「It’s delicious… isn’t it, Lusha?」
「Hm? Uh, yeah. It’s delicious.」
Lusha was sitting with me, but she didn’t seem very energetic. Even though the food was so good, she hadn’t eaten much of it.
Maybe she doesn’t like spicy things?
I asked her as much and she shook her head, immediately saying, “No, it’s not like that.”
「I just felt a little fat lately, so I just thought I should hold back.」
「Huuuuuh? You’re not fat at all, and…」
Seriously, if you’re fat, so are most of the other women in this world.
Lusha replied to my smiling remark with, “Heh, my bad,” and returned a smile of her own. I was glad to see her feeling a little better.
I was a little concerned about whether she was still worrying about what happened in the Undersea Dungeon. It’s not like it was her fault if her attack power was too low… well, that’s not exactly it. If our only purpose was to level up, her attack power was fine, but that wasn’t our only purpose, and just getting out of the dungeon took a little while considering how long it took to get in.
I want to be strong. Of course, Lusha also wants us to level up quickly, and I wanted to get more skills by capturing dungeons.
But before any of that, I have to do something about Ren’s curse. If he dies, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. We can collect as many skill books as we want later. Even the Apricot continent should have dungeons for us to conquer…
「He~y, what’s wrong with you?」
「Uhh, sorry, I guess I was daydreaming.」
After Lusha called me out, I noticed a little sauce on my hand. I licked it off and quickly ate the rest of the meat.
「Whew, thanks for the food.」
「Thanks for the food.」
Lusha had been eating the whole time my mind wandered, so we ended up finishing our food at the same time.
◆ ◆ ◆
I woke up thirsty in the middle of the night.
「…What time is it now? Man, it’s still dark.」
I’d gone to sleep only a few hours since we had dinner, pretty much as soon as we went back to the inn, so the sun probably wouldn’t be up for a while yet. I gulped down some water and stretched my arms.
「I’m wide awake now, after that glass of water.」
I could have gone back to sleep if I laid down again, but I thought it might be a good idea to take a walk in the village at night. Of course, there wouldn’t be any shops open that late at night. I could have invited Lusha along, but I decided against it ― she needed her sleep. After I changed into my equipment, I slipped out of the room quietly.
It was completely dark outside. There were no streetlights like in Japan, so I could only navigate from the light of the moon. I wished I could use light magic or something, but it’s impossible for a Priest.
「Well, where should I go?」
I figured I’d go to the back of the village, but I noticed there was a light on in the building next to the village entrance. There were people standing around there, so it’s probably something like a government office.
「A guard, huh?」
Are they guarding from humans, animals, or monsters? It might be also a role like a gatekeeper so they know who comes and goes, for safety reasons.
I go to the gatekeeper, who looked to be in his forties, and raised my hand casually. He shouted from surprise.
「Wha―? Hey, you know what time it is? Are you an adventurer staying at the inn?」
「That’s right. I woke up, so I thought I’d take a walk for a while.」
「It’s time for kids your age to be in bed, geez.」
I was relieved that there was no sign of alarm, he just laughed at the situation. It really is a different world. There was nothing like being told to go home immediately by the police, like in Japan.
「Even so, are night walks a popular thing for young’uns these days?」
「A little while ago, some girl with a bow walked out of here.」
「A girl with a bow…?」
「With green clothes, and a red ribbon, I think? She was beautiful.」
Wielding a bow, and wearing green clothes and a red ribbon, that’s exactly Lusha’s characteristics. But she didn’t tell me she was going out ― and I didn’t tell her I was going out either, so it’s not like she needed my permission.
「That girl, she’s probably my acquaintance, but….. did she say where she were going?」
「Ah, she said she was going to the forest right there.」
The gatekeeper pointed to the forest in front of the Sea of Trees. He told me there were a few monsters and wild animals out there, but it shouldn’t be that dangerous for an adventurer.
As soon as I heard the information, I ran in after her.
「She really must have been bothered by what happened in the Undersea Dungeon!」
I groaned in frustration. Her excuse at dinner of going on a diet was a lie after all. I wished I’d paid more attention to her feelings, but if I said something harsh, I was afraid she’d be even more depressed, and I couldn’t discuss dungeon strategy with her in that condition.
Well, if only we’d gotten a treasure chest… nah, that’s a different issue, and that’s not the problem right now.
After about ten minutes of running through the forest, I heard the sound of a bow firing. It also sounded like arrows hitting the ground, so it’s definitely Lusha. I approached to take a peek, and she seemed to be aiming at a wild boar monster in the distance.
Her strategy was to keep shooting until she hit the target, and kill it with a single blow. Maybe she hadn’t had any problems with that strategy so far… but this time was different. She let out a scream and panicked when she realized her previous shot had only grazed its back a little.
「Aw, no way… uhhh…!」
Of course the boar noticed Lusha after she landed a glancing blow, and there was no way it would wait around long enough for her to shoot it again. She hurriedly fired off a second and third arrow, but the result was as bad as you’d expect: everything missed.
Lusha didn’t stop, though, continuing to shoot fearlessly even though the wild boar was coming right for her at high speed.
Certainly, if she shoots at point blank range, she can’t miss, and that’s what she’s after… wait, what?
Such a simple solution came up, but now’s not the time.
I used my skill in the same moment Lusha fired an arrow. Although that arrow finally hit the wild boar, its body flew at her in a last act of defiance. Luckily, the shield bounced it back.
I walked slowly toward Lusha, who was panting and shaking.
「Hey, don’t try to level up all by yourself.」
Lusha was surprised to see me, but said thank you for the shield I put on her.
「You’re telling me not to train on my own, but you’re already stronger than me.」
She objected with a huff, puffing her cheeks out.
That’s comparing two different standards of strength. I mean, if you say I’m strong as a Healer, I won’t deny it. If you’re only thinking in terms of level or combat power, I’m not strong at all. From levels alone, Lusha is better.
「What? If I was stronger, we could have passed through the Undersea Dungeon instead of the Sea of Trees!」
「If you put it like that, I wonder what I’m going to do when Lusha gets way stronger than me and dissolves the party, leaving me all alone…」
Come on, Lusha-san, don’t tell me you’ve never thought about that. I couldn’t dream of it myself, because I can’t act on my own anyway.
Lusha burst out laughing when she realized what I was saying.
「You don’t have to worry about that, Hiroki~!」
「What? It… it could happen! We can’t predict the future!」
I had a really hard time finding a party until Freutz’s came along!
Well, that’s what I wanted to say, but with Lusha laughing so hard, I couldn’t help but feel stupid for thinking about such a trivial thing. I then took a breath and made a suggestion.
「Would you like to become stronger and level up together?」
After that, we hunted until morning and slept until noon.
…We ended up staying in the village for one more night.