After arranging to have the completed skincare set delivered to Patty, me and Gobu left the hotel.
Putting on my veteran face I show my guild card to the gatekeeper and pass through.
I’m glad I practised getting my card out quickly at the hotel.
The other side of the gate is noisy and full of hustle and bustle.
I could hear voices calling out for porters here and there.
“Exploring the first 3 levels for 5 nights, 6 days. Food is included. Price is 4500 rims a day. We are looking for 6 people.”
“Searching the 2nd level 3rd ward. 3 people needed. 3 nights, 2 days. 3800 rims per person.”
The area is filled with strong looking people and beautiful women.
While I’m looking, party recruitment’s are finishing one after another.
I was overwhelmed by the momentum of the other porters and was left behind without being able to self-appeal or interrupt.
Both the remaining parties and porters have become sparse.
The few people are now looking at each other.
“Excuse me. Can you do 2 days and 1 night to the 1st level 3rd ward? Pay is 3000 rims.”
An adventurer who looks about 40 calls out to me. He doesn’t give off a good feeling.
There’s a great difference between him and Lot-san who is also in his 40’s.
“3000 rims a day?”
“No 3000 rims for the 2 days. I’ll pay the rest with food and we don’t have much luggage.”
I covered the first 2 wards during the training course but haven’t been to the 3rd yet.
A steady advance may be good.
This ojisan appears to be disheartened though he’s also a veteran who’s got to his age without dying.
While I was thinking a small girl raised her hand from the side and spoke.
“I’ll do it.”
She’s about 145cm in height and is thin, almost skin and bones thin.
Her face was pretty but she looked unwell.
“Our luggage weighs about 20 kilos. Will you be okay?”
“Yes. I’ll absolutely carry it.”
This girl is earnest.
I’m sure she’s been declined from a few parties already.
“And what about you?”
There were almost no parties remaining so I decided to go with them.
The ojisan was called Saul-san and he’s the leader of a party called [sand of the star]
He’s 8th rank.
There’s 2 other members in addition to Saul-san.
Currently, I’m waiting at the store next to the gate.
It’s a shop for adventures and most of what you need to explore the labyrinth is sold here.
Because the prices are cheap a lot of adventurers shop here.
After waiting for a while a lively duo came over.
They blame the lateness on shopping but honestly, I don’t care.
“Tom-san, Julie-san, please stop it. Everyone is getting tired of waiting.”
At Saul-sans promoting everyone introduces themselves.
Party leader Saul (43 years old), 8th rank, shield user.
Tom (24 years old) 9th rank, spear user.
Julie (23 years old) 9th rank, bow user.
Rita (16 years old) 10th rank, porter.
That’s all the members of this party.
Me and Rita carry the luggage on our backs.
Because Gobu was carrying my share I took some off Rita as she seems like she will collapse at any moment.
While we were walking I gave her some candies that rapidly disappeared into her mouth.
The [sand of the star] members were not very strong individually but they fought a steady fight.
Saul-san blocks the enemy attacks with his shield while Tom restrains them with his spear. Julie attacks from the rear with her bow.
They don’t pick unnecessary fights with large groups of demons and instead let them pass.
2 demons got separated and were defeated.
Although the fighting power of the party was low they were competent in searching out enemies and other covert actions.
When the battles began me and Rita fell back and hid.
While we wait we put down our luggage and have a break.
It’s pumpkin chips for 2 people (I dried it using material refining). While nibbling I looked around.
Gobu stood there with his tower shield and I was cautious so I had my gun ready in my hand.
Rita had become attached to me and was telling me various stories.
She hadn’t been paid properly for her labours recently. The party she was with was annihilated and when she was rescued she had no money so she can barely get enough food to eat.
The party Rita was with got wiped out on the 1st floor.
A large group of jumbo hoppers appeared and they were overwhelmed.
“I saw the last person collapse so I ran away. I felt I was going to die. Luckily I found another party who were kind to me and allowed me to come back with them.”
“You were very lucky. Aren’t you worried you will be killed by a bad person if you do a bad job?” (TN. Damn. Way to lighten the mood Ippei.)
“It’s fine. If you do that your guild card turns red. However, it’s very common for your baggage to be stolen.”
The guilds thought about this too.
Presenting your guild card at the gate is mandatory. You will be arrested instantly if they see a red card.
“Do you want some more pumpkin chips?”
“Yes! Itadakimasu. Though they are simple they are really delicious.”
We continue watching the battle while eating.
Though reliable in battle they take a while to win.
They make sure they have a considerable safety margin.
When the fighting ends is when we are busy.
We dismantle the demons and collect the materials while Saul-san and the others sharpen their weapons and collect arrows.
I don’t need help with the dismantling due to material refining so I have Gobu help collect the arrows.
He seems pleased running around collecting arrows. Julie was also pleased.
“This child is cute. He’s using all his effort to collect them. The men should learn from him.”
Gobu enthusiastically handed the arrows over.
He really loves the ladies.
His strike zone is large as well.
When night comes it gets quite cold in the labyrinth.
We camp in a small room and wrap the red cloth around the handle.
[Sand of the star] was amazed when I lit the fire using life magic.
It seems porters with life magic are treated very well.
“Normally an impoverished party like ours couldn’t afford to employ you.”
I cannot help but smile wryly at Saul-san’s explanation.
“As you’ve probably noticed, sand of the star is a group of cowards. We rarely take risks. We only fight enemies we can defeat and only under favourable conditions. That’s how we earn our money.”
“So you only hunt on the 1st level then?” Rita asks.
“No. On days when there are a large number of parties, the demons numbers will be reduced. At times like that, we go to the 2nd floor and hunt single demons that have escaped. It depends on the situation.”
It sounds like villagers hunting down a fleeing soldier.
“Are you disappointed? I’m not strong and I don’t want to die. I like our style.”
“I’m not disappointed at all. My last party was wiped out by a large group of jumbo hoppers. I don’t think such a thing would have happened if someone like Saul-san was there.”
“Thank you Rita-san. We are recruiting party members if you are interested. You to Ippei-san.”
I might find a party who’s style fits me one day.
I wonder what kind of party I’ll end up in….?
Because Rita didn’t have a cloak I lent her Gobu’s.
“Is that okay?”
“It’s fine. Gobu doesn’t feel the cold.”
“Thank you Gobu-chan.” (TN. Yeah she calls him chan)
Gobu’s expression that looks like a wooden mannequin doesn’t change, however, it seemed like he smiled gently for a moment.
It’s probably due to the flickering flames from the fire.
The firewood popped and small embers danced in the air.