In the room brightly lit by magic stones, we patiently waited for Oslo’s group, but they were taking too long. We’ve had our supper, and yet we still haven’t heard from them. They might have found themselves in some trouble, but searching wasn’t an option right now. The most we could do was to prepare some soup to warm them when they arrive.
The cold wind blew with the pouring rain. Raingears could keep the water off the skin but it can’t stop the cold. Going out now was a sure trip to sicktown.
The soup was instant, so all that was needed was to ready a bowl and some water. Of course, I didn’t make it now. I just readied the ingredients. Anyway, that didn’t take much at all and there’s nothing else to do while waiting, so I took out the list of names and went through it.
I’ve skimmed through it once before entering the canyon, but that was just a quick read, a glance, in fact. There’s nothing else to do, so I might as well give it a proper read through. Hmm… I don’t think we came across any of these amongst the undead we fought.
“I can’t think of any leads… Hmm? Most of the people that have gone missing are in their tens or early twenties. I guess the young ones really are just too energetic.” [Ryouma]
Remiri-neesan choked on her tea, spurting out what she had in her mouth.
“Ryouma-chan, what are you talking like an old man for? Aren’t you the same age? Sheesh, it’s precisely because you talk like that…”
Even if you tell me that it’s not like I can completely forget the fact that I’m a 40 year-old man. Although, there are times when it happens.
Anyway, I changed the topic and we talked about the list. I asked her if she had any leads, and she said she hadn’t.
It’s expected though. It’s not easy to distinguish between one undead and another unless they have some odd feature that really sticks out. The zombies are rotten and the skeletons are just bones, so how are you supposed to tell which one’s which? The only way to tell is based on their possessions, but…
“The equipment of new adventurers are mass produced, so… It’s not much help. It would be great if they had some unique equipment on them, but…” [Ryouma]
Unless they’re as rich as nobles or have received some gift from someone, almost all the adventurers have the same equips. In fact, a lot of those mass produced equips can be seen in town… It wouldn’t be so bad if there were serial numbers imprinted onto them, but unfortunately, there aren’t any.
“I guess that leaves us with no choice but to make out their features and pray that we notice one that matches the descriptions.” [Ryouma]
“We have to do it before we kill them too, otherwise, the undead will turn into a puff of smoke, and we won’t have anything left to examine.” [Remiri]
And that’s one more reason why this search is so difficult.
As we continued to talk like that, the sound of people walking and talking reached our ears through the continuing downpour. There’s also the sound of metal mixed in.
We stopped talking to make out the sound better, and the source was indeed getting closer.
“It’s them, I think.” [Ryouma]
It could be the undead, so I looked out the window to be sure. There I saw a group of people in armor carrying lanterns for light. Leading that group was a birdman dressed in raingear. It was Oslo-san.
Remiri-san knocked on the door of the sleeping quarters, and she called out to the other eight who were fixing their equipment. The visibility here is poor, so just to be safe, we should make it easier to move in.
I pray there’ll be no need for it though.
I opened the door. “Oslo-san! Over here!!” [Ryouma]
Oslo-san raised his spear and called out when he heard my voice. He took his men with him as they went past the barricade, sheathed their weapons, and entered the shed.
“Sorry, I’m late. The road collapsed, so we had to take a detour.” [Oslo]
“For the meantime, please come inside. It’s cold out there.” [Ryouma]
So, that’s why they’re late. Anyway, they should go in first, so I invited them in, and offered them some seats. They took off their raingears as they took my offer. It’s a bit cramped now with 11 more people, as I did build this shed for us 10 to live in, but we’re all still fitting in.
5 of Oslo-san’s group are men while 6 are women. Their ages all seem to range from the 20s to their 50s. There’s probably more than one party here, and they’re collaborating for a job.
After Remiri-neesan called Sebasu-san, he showed up, and I went to the kitchen. I boiled the water with ‘Heat’, and then I emptied the pack of instant soup into it.
“We can talk while eating, so please warm yourselves up with this first.” [Ryouma]
“Thank you.” [Oslo]
I went back to the living room, and distributed the cups to the guests. They gratefully took them. Of course, they didn’t drink right away. They still had to check whether it’s been laced with some medicine or poison. A little later, they all started to drink. It seems that they were able to confirm that it’s not poisoned.
“Good soup.” [Oslo]
“Thank you. So, what’ll you do about the food supply?” [Ryouma]
“Right. Talk to Nell-san, she’s the one in charge of our food.” [Oslo]
The middle-aged woman sitting at the corner of the long rectangular table waved at me.
“Nell-san, I take it?” [Ryouma]
“Yep, that’s me. And you’re Ryouma-kun, right? I’m also running a small inn at Teresa, so drop by there too when you have a chance.” [Nell]
I did get her name from Oslo a while ago, but…
“You run an inn?” [Ryouma]
I asked as it made me wonder whether there were also other merchants working as adventurers other than me, but her response took me by surprise.
“Oh, no, I’m just the landlady. It’s my husband who actually runs the inn.” [Nell]
Why is the landlady in a place like this!?
“I actually retired last year and opened the inn with my husband but I’m working again temporarily.” [Nell]
Apparently, her daughter is also an adventurer but she went missing after coming here. Every one of them including Oslo-san has lost a family member or an acquaintance.
“I want to put a stop to it. I don’t want anyone else to suffer anymore, so I came here. Every one of us came here with those feelings. So, we’re like a vigilante group of some sort, and we’re patrolling here and there.” [Nell]
“I see…” [Ryouma]
“…Anyway, let’s talk about those supplies.” [Nell]
The conversation was starting to get heavy, so Nell-san changed the topic. I also didn’t ask anything else, and settled our business.
They want enough for one week just like Oslo-san mentioned. The contents include dried meat, smoked meat, hard bread, and baked sweets. It was mostly a bunch of preserved foods they were used to. She also asked for vegetables and medicine preserved with a magic tool. There’s 11 of them, so three times of meal a day for a week would mean 231 meals all in all. I opened my Item Box, and took out enough to satisfy their request.
It’s 30 suits per meal back at the restaurant, so 231 would be 6930 suits all in all. I offered to sell everything to them for 6,000 suits. With that we closed the deal.
“Thank you for your purchase.” [Ryouma]
“Thank you too for selling it cheap.” [Nell]
“By the way, what’ll you be doing from here on?” [Ryouma]
“We’re planning to make camp with our tents somewhere–––“ [Nell]
“Then in that case, why don’t you spend the night here? It’s fine, right, Ryouma-chan?” [Remiri]
Remiri-neesan who had just been watching from a corner of the room all this time suddenly interjected. I said I didn’t mind, and apparently, she’s already gotten everyone else’s permission, so like that everyone spent the night here.
The next day.
At the onset of dawn, the sun’s rays entered through the window into the bare living room, waking Oslo-san and his men, upon which, they immediately prepared for departure.
“Good morning. I know it was a bit cramped, but did you have a good rest?” [Ryouma]
“More than good actually. It’s been a while since I had a good night’s rest.” [Oslo]
“You even had your slimes wash our clothes, we’re really grateful. Slimes are so convenient, I wish we had one at the inn.” [Nell]
The other members felt the same way. It might be a good idea to put up a branch in Teressa.
After they finished their preparations, I sent them off.
“We’ll go now” [Oslo]
“Please take care.” [Ryouma]
“You too.” [Oslo]
After Oslo-san and his group left, a man from their group came back. He named himself Barrack.
“Sorry, but can you sell me that thing you mentioned last night.” [Barrack]
“Last night? Ah! Right, here. That’ll be 50 suits.” [Ryouma]
I took out a roll of tobacco from my Item Box. Adventurers kept asking me for tobacco when I came here before, and I couldn’t meet the demand, so this time, I came prepared. It’s still not that much though. And I don’t smoke myself, so I actually even forgot about it. I only remembered it last night when Barrack-san asked.
It’d smell if I sold him some last night, so his friends told him to wait until morning since there’s no way he was not going to smoke with a roll in his hands.
“Yeah, this is the stuff. I can fight another week with this.” [Barrack]
“Please be careful not to smoke too much.” [Ryouma]
“I know, I know. You take care too.” [Barrack]
Is he talking about tobacco?
“I don’t smoke though.” [Ryouma]
“No, not that.” [Barrack]
“You mean the undead, then?” [Ryouma]
“There’s that too, but…” [Barrack]
He hesitated. But after seemingly battling with himself, he spoke in a hushed voice.
“…I’m here because of a friend that’s like a younger brother to me who went missing. It’s strange, you know?” [Barrack]
“What do you mean?” [Ryouma]
“Nothing weird about a greenhorn pushing too hard and finding himself in a ditch, but that guy wasn’t the type. He was real cautious that one. There’s no way he would’ve died over something like that.
…I can only think of one reason for that guy to die: something crazy must’ve happened. There’s plenty of places to hide out here.
Not just for the undead but for people too. In fact, people found a suspicious cave whose entrance was hidden.
The guild’s investigation didn’t turn anything up, but it’s not an undead. There’s some weird bastard out there lurking…
Sorry. I’m just worrying you like this.
I don’t have any proof for it. It might just be my imagination.” [Barrack]
Barrack started off really strong, but for some reason, that conviction suddenly went weak.
“No, thanks for letting me know. I’ll take care.” [Ryouma]
“Yeah, you do that. If you find anything out, let the guild know. Later.” [Barrack]
As Barrack-san said that, he left with Oslo and the others.
Anyway, there’s no proof, and he’s right about that, but it’s definitely possible that something else other than the undead is responsible for the missing people. So, I informed the others about Barrack’s tip.
TL Note: Lovely. A horror story, and just when Jiggly’s about to sleep. Sigh.