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Chapter 14 – I Suggested The Evacuation To An Underground City
We hurried into the city of Aunen.
It probably took us less than twenty minutes.
Relic, a kind, scholarly man with the appearance of an introvert, was able to keep up with Iris and me as we ran as fast as we could. I was a little surprised.
“Hah, hah… I-I can use, [Wind Magic], after all…”
Relic replied, gasping for breath.
“Well, I’m still learning magic, and I can only accelerate once in a while.”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s good to have all three of us back together.”
If Relic was going to be late, I was thinking of carrying him. He seemed light for his height, so it wouldn’t be much of a hassle.
Anyway, the three of us, me, Iris, and Relic, decided to head to the Adventurer’s Guild.
The city at dusk was bustling as usual, but there was something different about it.
It was restless or rather buzzing…
While remembering the strange commotion in my heart, I headed for the Adventurer’s Guild.
When I entered the lobby, I found many adventurers gathered there.
The clock on the wall showed that it was five o’clock in the afternoon, a time when everyone should be relaxing after finishing their quests, but there was a strange, tense atmosphere in the air.
“…It’s like before the war started.”
“It’s a scary atmosphere…”
Iris and Relic seemed to agree with me and were looking around the lobby.
The three of us headed towards the reception desk together.
There was a woman with glasses sitting there, just like in the afternoon, but as soon as she saw us, she retreated to the back.
“I wonder if she’s avoiding me…?”
“I don’t think so, but…”
“What in the world happened…?”
As we were pondering with a question mark on our heads, Milia came running from behind the reception desk. The woman with the glasses must have left her seat in order to call Milia.
“Kou-san, Iris-san, you’re back! Welcome back!”
Milia greeted us with the same gentle smile she always wore.
Then she turned to Relic and spoke to him with a serious expression.
“Thank you for the confirmation work, Relic-san. Thank you very much for accepting my request on such short notice. …How was the underground city?”
“It certainly belongs to the ancient civilization. There is no doubt about it.”
“It’s a great historical discovery, isn’t it? …If it were true, I would like to throw a party to celebrate, but the current situation may make it difficult. I’m sorry.”
I asked, and Milia nodded with a grim expression.
“Actually, we’ve observed signs of a great flood in the Phatos Mountains to the north.”
I’ve never heard that phrase before.
It sounded ominous, but what the hell did it mean?
I was wondering what it meant when Iris immediately told me.
“…The great flood is, in short, like a massive flood of monsters. In just a few hours, thousands or tens of thousands of monsters are gathered, and they attack the villages like a flood.”
“Thank you for the explanation, Iris-san. To be more specific, at around ten o’clock in the morning today, a concentration of magical elements was detected in the Phatos Mountains to the north that far exceeded the standard value. The Adventurer’s Guild estimates that as early as three days later, more than 50,000 monsters will emerge and attack Aunen.”
“…F-f-fifty thousand monsters?”
Relic shouted in surprise.
“It’s a once-in-a-decade or even a once-in-a-century level of disaster!”
“It is as you say, Relic-san. …Originally, we would have conducted a joint defense operation with the feudal lord’s soldiers, but this time it may be difficult.”
“Why is that?”
When I asked, Milia took out a map from under the desk.
“You may not know this, Kou-san, but about three months ago, there was a great flood in this same territory. This is where it happened.”
She pointed to one of the cities far to the northeast of Aunen.
“The number of monsters was about five thousand, but there were so many high-level danger monsters that the feudal lord’s army was devastated. It will take more than a year to rebuild…”
“You mean we can’t expect them to be a proper fighting force this time?”
“How about asking for help from the country or the neighboring feudal lords?”
At Relic’s suggestion, however, Milia shook her head.
“The last half year or so has seen a lot of strange occurrences all over the place, and everyone seems to have their hands full with their own problems. The only two forces in Aunen are the Adventurer’s Guild and the Mercenary’s Guild, which are considered extremely difficult to use for defense. …Kou-san, Iris-san, and Relic-san, I have an important question for you. Please give me your honest opinions.”
Milia asks with a serious expression.
“Was the underground city a place that could be used as a shelter?”
The answer, of course, was the same for all three of us.
“It’s fine, no problem.”
“I think it could accommodate all the residents of Aunen on that scale.”
“It’s a short distance from here, which is convenient.”
Milia nodded, pondered for a moment, and then told us.
“I’d like to hear more about the underground city if you don’t mind. Is that okay?”
* * *
Milia led us to the reception room of the Adventurer’s Guild.
“Please take a seat on the sofa and wait. I’ll go call the branch manager now.”
“Isn’t the branch manager away?”
“He finally returned from the royal capital yesterday. This time, it was a long business trip, so it was quite difficult to take over. …Oh, yes. Please rest assured that I have reported on Kou-san’s activities. The branch manager was also quite impressed.”
“…I hope he won’t be disappointed when he meets me in person.”
“It will be fine, I can assure you.”
Milia winked with her right eye and left the reception room.
We decided to sit on the sofa for the moment.
From the back, it was Iris, me, and Relic. The sofa was quite large, so there was plenty of room for all three of us.
“Have you ever met the branch manager, Iris?”
“He greeted me once when I arrived in Aunen. I think it’s because I’m an A-ranked adventurer.”
“How about you, Relic?”
“The branch manager here is interested in ancient civilizations, and I’ve had the pleasure of giving him lectures on several occasions. He was quite a nice guy.”
“So I’m the only one who’s never met him before. …It makes me nervous.”
As soon as we were talking about this, Milia came back.
She came in with an elderly gentleman.
His hair was a romantic gray with a touch of white, and his body was slim. He looked more toned than thin. He may have been a former adventurer.
His expression is calm, but his eyes are strong, giving him the air of a sharp man.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting. I’m Zitan Baltan, the branch manager of Aunen’s Adventurers’ Guild.”
“Nice to meet you. I am Kou Kousaka. Please take care of me.”
When I stood up from the sofa and bowed to him, he gave me a slight bow.
“It’s my pleasure to meet you too. I’ve already heard about Kou-kun’s activities, and also about your achievements. You’ve single-handedly defeated an Armored Bear, a Black Spider, and even discovered an underground city… You’re the ace of the next generation.”
“…I’m grateful for that.”
“Haha, you don’t have to be so modest. There’s no need for formalities. That’s what being an adventurer is all about, isn’t it?”
“I understand. …No, I get it.”
“Umu, that’s how it should be. An adventurer should be irreverent to a fault.”
Chief Zitan nodded generously and said, “It’s been a long time; how are you doing?” to Iris and Relic.
Then he sat down on the sofa on the opposite side of us. The position was on the left side of me.
“Oh, I’ll be sitting too as an assistant branch manager.”
Milia sat on the right side of the sofa.
“Then, I would like you to give us a quick report on the underground city.”
I explained about the underground city along the timeline.
Starting with the events leading up to the discovery of the underground city in the Cello Forest, the battle with the Orichalcum Golem, the registration as a master, the exploration of the underground city, the building of the city…
I give the general outline, and Iris provides additional details.
If necessary, Relic would give his expert opinion.
We didn’t have a meeting beforehand, but we were smoothly proceeding with the report in that fashion before I knew it.
“──We have already prepared the living environment for the underground city. It should be possible to accommodate all of Aunen’s population. If there are not enough houses, I can add more on the spot.”
Chief Zitan looked thoughtful for a moment but then slowly opened his mouth.
“As you all know, the situation is desperate. In about three days, more than fifty thousand monsters will be flooding into Aunen. We can’t evacuate to a nearby city in time. More than 80% of them will lose their lives when they are attacked from behind by a pack of monsters on the move. …If we can use the underground city, there is nothing more gratifying than that. If you don’t mind, could you show it to me in person?”
“Of course I would. How about Iris and Relic?”
“I agree. We don’t have much time before the great flood, so we’d better hurry.”
“I’m of the same opinion. You’ll be amazed when you see Kou-san’s city.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
Chief Zitan’s mouth twitched slightly. The smile on his face is that of a mature man with a lot of time on his hands.
“Then let me make a few preparations. I’ll meet you at the south gate of the city in an hour. Milia, you should come with us.”
“I’ll go and get ready. I’ll see you later, Kou-san.”
The report was thus suspended, and we were to take Chief Zitan to the underground city.
The Black Dragon would have to wait.
If we decide to evacuate to the underground city, it will also be a countermeasure against the Black Dragon.
Or rather, you know.
Let me tell you something.
Isn’t it really too hard to have two troubles at the same time, the great flood and the Black Dragon?
The difficulty level of this world is too high. I wanted to move to a world that was a little easier.
But complaining won’t get me anywhere, so for now, I’ll just focus on the task at hand.
After leaving the reception room, the three of us returned to the lobby of the Adventurer’s Guild.
The lobby was filled with adventurers as usual. They were probably waiting for more information about the great flood.
“Iris, Relic, what do we do now?”
“We’re about halfway through dinner…”
“If we’re going to the underground city, we could ask the Helper slime to make us some.”
That’s certainly a good idea. The pancakes from Helper Slime were excellent, and if you order dinner from them, you’ll get a wonderful selection of food on the table.
As I was thinking about this, a female adventurer I knew approached me.
“Kou-chi, you were called to the back of the guild, right? What happened?”
“Well, I’ve been going through some stuff.”
“Could it be that Chief Zitan asked you to protect the city?”
When the female adventurer jokingly said that, another male adventurer nearby nodded and joined the conversation, saying, “That sounds likely.”
“It is said that there are more than fifty thousand monsters in the great flood this time, but if the Bear Killer is with us, we should be able to handle it, don’t you think?”
“If it’s just Kou-chi, he might be able to survive, but we won’t.”
Listening to the two of them, it seemed that the adventurers were aware of the scale of the great flood.
However, this raises one question.
Why are they both still staying in the city of Aunen? With the sheer number of monsters attacking, wouldn’t they normally be running for their lives?
“──In a time of a great flood, adventurers have a duty to protect the people of the city.”
As if she had read my thoughts, Iris explained.
“Of course, there are those who flee, but they will be expelled from the Adventurer’s Guild and hunted down as bounties. Also, in this country, you’ll be treated as a serious criminal.”
“Well, we’ll still do our job regardless of the cancellation of our registration or the crime…”
The female adventurer said in a cheerful tone.
“We’ve been indebted to this city, so we’re returning the favor.”
“Oh, come on, don’t act like you’re the good one.”
The male adventurer shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
“Aside from the extraordinary like the Bear Killer, for ordinary adventurers like us, the great flood is an opportunity. The risk is great, but the return is also great. If you do well, you can become a hero. The government and the Adventurer’s Guild will reward you, and you can even get into the A and B ranks.”
“That’s true, but wouldn’t it be sad if the Oji-san and Oba-san of the Golden Bear Restaurant died?”
“Well, I have a lot of feelings for Aunen, too. Like Mii-chan from Bubble Splash Store…”
As a side note, the northwestern part of Aunen is home to a reasonably large entertainment district. Among them, a brothel called Bubble Splash Store seems to be popular among male adventurers.
The male adventurer muttered thoughtfully.
“I will ask Mii-chan to marry me when this battle is over!”
That’s a death flag.
I talked to the other adventurers to gather information, but they all seemed to have no intention of running away from Aunen.
When I asked them if they were afraid of dying, all they replied was that if they were afraid of dying then they would not be an adventurer. It was like a samurai from the Warring States period. Adventurers are constantly exchanging lives, so in a sense, it’s a similar thing.
After gaining some understanding, I cut the conversation short and left the Adventurer’s Guild.
Of course, Iris and Relic were with me.
If we head for the south gate now, it will be just the right time.
It’s already night.
The sky was tinged with indigo, and the stars were shining brightly.
I looked at the city and saw that it was the same as usual, except that there was a bit of tension in the air.
“Everyone seems to be quite calm.”
With a major crisis looming, it would be natural for panic to set in. In a world where monsters appear on a daily basis, is it possible that everyone’s heart has been trained?
…But apparently, that’s not the case.
“Most of the Adventurer’s Guild employees have [Calming] or [Persuasion] skills.”
“If I remember correctly, you need to have the negotiation skill to become a branch manager.”
“So you mean they’re making good use of their skills?”
That makes sense.
The guild staff was probably still preventing panic somewhere in the city.
Thank goodness for that.
We arrived at the south gate ten minutes before the scheduled meeting.
“Did we arrive too early?”
“I think it’s better than being late.”
“I’ve never had a meeting with so much time to spare in my life. I always end up rushing in at the last minute…”
Relic gave me a confused look. He brushed his bangs with his right hand.
People with outstanding talent have an image of being loose with time. It seems that Relic is one of those types. I guess when you are absorbed in something, you lose sight of everything else.
A few minutes later, Chief Zitan and Milia arrived.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting, Kou-san.”
“No, we’ve just arrived too. Don’t worry about it.”
“Fufu, it sounds like you’re waiting for a date.”
Milia giggled with a mischievous expression.
“Now that we’re all here, let’s get going. Isn’t that right, Chief?”
“Of course. We don’t have much time left. Let’s hurry up.”
So, the five of us started walking towards the underground city.
On the way, Milia gave us a brief explanation of the chain of command in the event of a great flood.
“In case of a great flood, the branch manager of the Adventurer’s Guild will have full authority to deal with the situation. If the feudal lord is in the area, or if the feudal lord sends instructions, that’s a different story.”
“Do we have to ask the feudal lord if we abandon the city?”
“According to the laws of this country, it is not necessary. It would be ideal if we could get the feudal lord’s consent, but I don’t think we have time for that this time…”
So Chief Zitan has no choice but to decide on this as his own responsibility.
Being a branch manager of an Adventurer’s Guild is quite a difficult position to be in…
While we were talking about this, we entered the Cello Forest and arrived at the door at the bottom of the cliff.
I opened the door and walked through the tunnel, and soon our vision opened up in a flash.
There was a huge city spread out before us. The city shone brightly, illuminating the surrounding night darkness.
Both Chief Zitan and Milia were overwhelmed by the sight before their eyes. They were stunned for a while, but then they came to their senses and turned to me.
“…Honestly, I feel like I’m dreaming. It’s not that I doubted Kou-kun’s report, but I didn’t expect the city to be so magnificent. I’m really surprised.”
“You built this city with your skills, didn’t you, Kou-san?”
“Yes. I can add more buildings if necessary. You can always let me know.”
Even now, surplus magic power is being converted into building materials, and if I wanted to, I could more than double the size of the city. There is still a surplus of land after all.
“You’re really beyond the norm, Kou-kun…”
“I think we can accommodate all the people of Aunen with this. Kou-san, may I see the inside of the city?”
“Of course. …Hmm?”
When I looked towards the city, I saw about five translucent round creatures bouncing towards us. It’s a group of Helper Slimes. They stopped moving in front of us and bowed a bit vertically.
“Welcome back, Master-san, Onee-san and Onii-san!”
“You’ve brought new visitors!”
“Take your time.”
The Helper Slimes were all buzzing happily, cackling with friendly expressions.
I had explained about the Helper Slimes to Chief Zitan and Milia in my earlier report. Perhaps because of this, both of them seemed to be less confused.
“So this is an ancient magical creature, fascinating.”
Chief Zitan muttered as he stared at the Helper Slimes.
“Relic-kun, do you think you can recreate this with today’s technology?”
“It might be difficult to recreate this, indeed. We need at least ten years.”
You can recreate it if you have ten years?
I’m not saying it’s impossible, but Relic may have a clue.
In the meantime, Milia and Iris… the two women, were completely charmed by the cuteness of the Helper Slime.
They crouched down and poked the Slime’s cheeks from both sides.
“Fufu, they’re so cute, aren’t they?”
“Yes, they are. They’re so soothing…”
I can understand how Iris feels, but we didn’t come to the underground city for therapy. Our main goal is to convince Chief Zitan that this is the right place to take shelter. That is our main objective.
We moved into the city, surrounded by the Helper Slimes.
There are three districts in the city: the residential district, the food production district, and the commercial district, in that order.
The features of each district were carefully explained to us by the Helper Slimes.
Branch Manager Zitan listened to all of this with a serious expression and took various notes. He was probably writing down information that would be important for the evacuation.
After he had finished looking at all the areas, he told me with a satisfied look on his face.
“You were right, Kou-kun. This city will be able to accommodate all the people of Aunen. …Please let us use this place as a shelter.”
Chief Zitan turned to me and bowed deeply.
“Chief-san, please raise your head. As for me, that was my intention all along.”
“Thank you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“──Thank you, Kou-san.”
Following Chief Zitan, Milia also bowed her head.
“Since Kou-san has provided us with a place to evacuate, we will also do our best. I will make sure that the people of Aunen are safely evacuated.”
“Yes, please do.”
“Yes! Please leave it to me!”
Milia nodded with a cheerful voice.
This is how the underground city was determined to be the evacuation destination, but there is one thing left to report.
That is, of course, the Black Dragon.
Now was the time to tell them.
“Chief Zitan, Milia, I have something to tell you.”
Just as I began to speak, another Helper Slime came rushing toward us in a panic.
“Master-san! Master-san! Listen to me! Something terrible has happened!”
The Helper Slime was wearing glasses.
It was the Glasses Slime that was supposed to be in the deep realm.
It’s in a hurry, but what the heck happened?