We rested until the adventurers came close enough to notice us. When they did, they stopped and Wereanna-san called out to them.
“Hey, the adventurers who’ve been following us all this time! We know you’re there! Show yourselves!” [Wereanna]
The 6 adventurers panicked, but they still showed themselves in the end.
They had 4 humans and two beastmen, one man, one woman, in their group. I know this sounds rude, but they look shabby.
It seems everyone was right, they really were people having financial problems… Still, they sure are young. They’re only a little older than me.
“Why were you following us?” [Wereanna]
“We were picking up the monsters you threw away…” [Adventurer 1]
“…Well, alright. First off, I want you to know that we didn’t call you out to scold you.” [Wereanna]
When the 6 adventurers heard that, they heaved a sigh of relief and their countenance turned for the better.
“But we do want to know why you’re doing this.” [Wereanna]
“O-Ok! Actually, we’re just G and F Rankers, so… We’ve been having problems with money and…” [Adventurer 1]
“It wasn’t so bad at the start, but after getting some equipment, we ran out of cash.” [Adventurer 2]
“And I messed up on a job, so we had to pay the penalty fee…” [Adventurer 3]
“We were barely scraping by, and that’s when the posting for this job came. We took it as soon as we saw it, thinking we could finally make some money.
The monsters are weak, and we make money by participating and by bringing back monster corpses, so we figured we’d make as much money as we could!” [Adventurer 4]
“But then we happened to see you, and…” [Adventurer 5]
Their reasons were all stuff Jeff and the others mentioned. Looks like it really is a common story.
I just quietly listened, but then one of the female human adventurers suddenly stopped.
Jeff-san urged her to continue.
“And what?” [Jeff]
“And…” [Adventurer 5]
“While we were following you, we saw that kid. So we figured if you were nice enough to take a kid like that along, then you probably wouldn’t mind if we take the corpses you left behind. I mean a group of adventurers nice enough to bring a kid who’d be nothing but a hindrance must surely be generous, right?” [Adventurer 6]
The other 5 adventurers made a sour face when they heard that last guy’s words.
I mean, yeah, I’m a kid, but still… I’m a member of this group, you know? Normally, you wouldn’t call the member of another group useless.
But regardless, whether they actually agreed with him or started following us because they thought so too, no one tried to reprimand the adventurer.
“You people really need to know your…” [Wereanna]
Wereanna-san wanted to rebuke them for looking down on me, but I stopped her.
There’s no point even if she got involved.
“It’s fine, Wereanna-san.” [Ryouma]
“Ryouma, you should tell people like this off firmly.” [Jeff]
“I don’t think this is something you can change even if you talk to them. Besides, it’s true I look weak on the outside.” [Ryouma]
“…Alright. But you know, you guys! If you’re going to do something like that, then don’t you think should ask permission first? Don’t just pick corpses up on your own like a group of bandits!” [Wereanna]
“Sorry!!” [6 Adventurers]
After apologizing, the six of them tried to give back the corpses they took and leave, but Syria-san and Mizelia-san stopped them.
“Wait! We may have reprimanded you for taking the corpses without permission, but we didn’t say we actually minded you gathering them.” [Syria]
“If you’re having trouble with cash, then just take them.” [Mizelia]
When the 6 of them heard that, their countenance immediately brightened, and they thanked everyone except for me.
Wereanna-san wasn’t happy, but Miya-san suggested to help them as planned.
“Actually, there’s another reason we called you guys, nyaa. There’s a huge cloud of cave bats up ahead, but it’s going to take us a while to take them all down, nyaa. So, mind lending us a hand, nyaa? We’ll give you the corpses, nyaa.” [Miya]
The 6 of them immediately agreed.
While I made sure that no one was around with Search, Miya-san gave them a simple explanation.
“We’ll go in after Ryouma takes them out with his spell, nyaa.” [Miya]
“Won’t that kid just alert them?” [One of the adventurers]
When the 6 adventurers visibly showed their anxiety, Wereanna-san yelled, “if you have a problem, then leave!” At that, they went quiet, but they continued to mumble among themselves after moving a bit from the group.
They’re probably talking about their misgivings toward me, but will go along anyway since they want the money.
I ignored them and put up a sound concealing barrier.
“I’m ready.” [Ryouma]
“Alright! Do it, Ryouma. You guys come too!” [Jeff]
“Let’s go! ‘Sound Bomb’!” [Ryouma]
After casting my spell, an explosion occurred within the tunnel, but because of the sound concealing barrier we couldn’t hear it.
The 6 thought I’d failed.
“Nothing’s happening, though?” [Adventurer 1]
“He screwed up, duh.” [Adventurer 2]
“It’s a success, actually. It’s a wind spell, so you can’t see it with your eyes.” [Ryouma]
As I said that, I went with the group to where the bats were.
The 6 adventurers followed us despite their doubts.
When we got to where the cave bats were, they looked on in a daze… Because an innumerable number of cave bats were on the floor, fainted.
“With this, they’ve all been knocked down. Let’s work together and kill everything as quickly as possible.” [Ryouma]
After saying that, I went to work.
When all of the cave bats have been dealt with, we left the six adventurers and exited the tunnel. That was the deepest part of the tunnel, so there was nothing more for us to do.
We left the disposal to them since that’s what they wanted in the first place.
But then Wereanna-san asked me this.
“Ryouma, was it really alright not to say anything?” [Wereanna]
“I showed them my skills in magic, so if they still can’t understand with that, I don’t think there’s any point even if I talked to them.” [Ryouma]
“Well, that’s true, but…” [Wereanna]
As long as they’re the understanding sort, there shouldn’t be any more problems, but if they’re the type that’s just making up excuses to grumble, then it’s hopeless even if you talk to them. And it doesn’t matter even if they’re the latter type since all I have to do is to ignore them.
There are two types of people. Ones you can change given enough time and effort, and ones that you can’t change no matter what you do.
“They’re going through some financial difficulties, so let’s just put them off as a group of cheeky kids desperate to make a living.” [Ryouma]
“Cheeky? …Is that something you should be saying when you’re younger than them? I’m pretty sure they’re already 15.” [Syria]
“Are you really 11 years old, Ryouma-kun?” [Mizelia]
“Well, if that’s what you think, then that’s fine too, nyaa.” [Miya]
I might look like a kid, but I’m already a 42 year-old uncle. I’m not about to pick a fight with a kid now. Besides, everyone already scolded them and I showed off my magic too. Any more than this will have to depend on their own self-reflection.
“Ah, by the way, there is something bothering me. Do I really look that weak?” [Ryouma]
I lived in the forest for three years alone and fought loads of times with bandits. It’s a bit of a surprise that I actually look weak.
“You don’t look like you could even harm a slime.” [Jeff]
Really? Even though people at work have been gossiping behind my back about the ‘pressure I exerted just by being present’ even when I was still young? It must be the face.
“I know you’re strong after seeing you fight, but normally, I wouldn’t think you’re someone strong at all.” [Wereanna]
“This might be a bit rude, but, Ryouma-kun, you don’t look strong at all… I knew from our previous job together that you have stamina and I’ve also heard of you being able to hunt, so at most I thought you wouldn’t be a hindrance, but I would have never been able to predict that you’re actually good at fighting…” [Syria]
“Even though part of getting stronger is being able to gauge other people’s strength, nyaa.” [Miya]
“Honestly, even I was shocked when I saw how strong you actually were.” [Mizelia]
“Well, picking up a person’s aura has to do with a person’s senses, so some are more keen to gauging others. We beastmen are usually on the sharper side, but I gotta say, Ryouma-kun, your strength and aura don’t match at all… Could it be you’re actually intentionally hiding it?” [Wereanna]
“Not particularly.” [Ryouma]
I don’t have to take care like I had to in my previous life, so I’ve just been doing things at my own pace. If there’s any precautions I take, at most it’s just me trying not to be threatening, but that’s not really hiding, is it? That’s just common sense.
“Then maybe it’s just a trait of yours. People are like that, aren’t they?” [Wereanna]
“You think? Even the bandits I met in the forest looked down on me. They did it every time too. Of course, I killed them all, but…” [Ryouma]
“I see where you’re coming from, but… Those bandits sure had bad luck.” [Jeff]
“They probably thought they were fighting a slime, nyaa…” [Miya]
“Only to realize the slime’s actually stronger than a bear.” [Syria]
“Exactly… When you put it that way, isn’t Ryouma-kun a natural trap?” [Wereanna]
Before I knew it, I was being treated as bandit flypaper.
We continued to chat like that, until eventually, it was time to eat lunch, so I went back to that wide-open area.