I’ve partied with Jeff-san and Miya-san and the others on the fly many times. I’ve worked with Berk and the others before the Founding Festival too. I didn’t have any problems either time.
But every time? Or what about if we always worked together? When I think that, I can’t get a clear answer.
I tried thinking about it again, but there was this strong sense of unease that I just couldn’t rid myself of.
“Then you don’t have to form a party now. Honestly, I don’t think you’ll have a problem with the shallower parts. You fought so well earlier that I could feel your strength on my skin. But just remember that it’s precisely because you’re like that that it’s dangerous.
The only reason I’m still alive today is because I have my party. Comrade-in-arms who fight with me. They stopped me whenever I was about to make a mistake. They saved me so many times. It might be difficult to find people that can walk with you, but do think about it before going to the great forest.” [Roche]
“Thank you very much.” [Ryouma]
I can’t answer right now what I’m going to do, but I’m grateful for his feelings.
“Don’t sweat it. This too is my job as your senpai. Besides, I hate seeing the young die needlessly. All the more so when it’s someone who’s saved my life. If I were a bit younger, I could go with you, but as it is… I’ll just get in your way.” [Roche]
Roche-san turned his shoulders and breathed.
“In the past, I got close to promoting to A Rank, but nowadays even a goblin knight can kill me. You should have seen it. I mean you were the one who healed me, remember?” [Roche]
Ahh, that time… Wait. Roche-san is a former B Rank?
“Didn’t you introduce yourself as a C Ranker?” [Ryouma]
“Everyone in my party is B Rank, but we lowered our rank by one level down to C. There’s not a lot of people who do it, but as long as you have a good reason for it, you can apply for a demotion.
In my case, I was reckless in my youth and got myself hurt many times. Thanks to that my body is all worn out now. Especially, these past few years. It might also be because of my age, but my stamina has really gone down. I can still fight well if it’s just for a short time, but having to fight consecutively like I would have if I were to go to some place like the great forest, then it’s a bit difficult.
I was troubled too because of the A Rank promotion, but it was dangerous to do jobs halfheartedly. My party members taught me that. In the end, I decided to give up on the promotion. We talked it out and decided that it might be a good idea to demote ourselves to rid ourselves of any lingering feelings… Ah… What am I talking about all this for?” [Roche]
Roche-san embarrassingly scratched his cheeks.
“Anyway, we decided to use our remaining time to educate our junior and save up money for retirement.” [Roche]
I see. So, this is also a choice that adventurers can make… It kind of makes me feel sorry for them.
“Come to think of it, Roche-san. Do you know a lot about the Great Shurus Forest?” [Ryouma]
“Not that much. I have gone to it many times, though.” [Roche]
So he’s experienced!?
“If you don’t mind, can you tell me more about it?” [Ryouma]
“I don’t mind, but aren’t you from there?” [Roche]
“When I was at the forest, I barely had any chance to talk to the villagers. I was almost always with my grandparents when they were still alive, and when they died, I left the forest immediately.” [Ryouma]
“I see. Well, it’s not like I don’t understand. If I were a parent myself, I wouldn’t want my kid getting used to the atmosphere in that place…” [Roche]
What does he mean by that?
“Ah, sorry. I don’t mean to speak ill of your hometown.” [Roche]
“No. Other than my grandparents, I don’t particularly care about the place either. I’m just curious what you meant. Please tell me how outsiders see the place.” [Ryouma]
“Really? …Then to put it simply, in the great forest, ‘strength is justice’. It’s a dangerous place, so the strong are sought out and powerful adventurers are worshiped. This is more or less true everywhere, but the great forest takes it too far. For example…” [Roche]
Roche-san pointed at the camp.
“Everyone is camped there, but what if this place wasn’t crawling with poisonous insects but rampant with powerful monsters? What do you think would happen?” [Roche]
Normally, the teachers would have to focus on protecting the students.
“Yeah. But what if we threw out the students in that situation?” [Roche]
…It’s not a pleasant thought, but it would turn into a terrible sight for sure.
“Adventurers have these things called stopping points to help them. In these stopping point, adventurers sell the ingredients they’ve gathered, supplies can be purchased, and maintenance of weapons and armor can also be done. There are a lot of merchants and craftsmen engaged in such work. Without them, adventurer work will become difficult. They are the ones that support adventurers. Because of their support, adventurers can focus on defending their base and working outside of it.” [Roche]
’That’s why the relationship between these supporters and the adventurers were originally equal… ‘ Roche-san grumbled for a moment before continuing.
“A long time passed and the power relationship of ‘the defenders’ and ‘the defended’ was twisted. The strong are great and the weak can’t live unless they’re protected. The last time we went there was 10 years ago, but that was the kind of atmosphere in the place… The people who’ve lived there for long also ended up being affected by that atmosphere.
“What happened then?” [Ryouma]
“At the great forest, the violence that people pretend not to exist would displease people were they to do them outside. As such, it’s hard for people from the forest to live outside. That’s why there are people who come back to the forest. There’s also a trend that as long as you’re strong, people will close one eye toward some things. This makes it easy for adventurers with bad reputation to gather.” [Roche]
Adventurers with bad behavior, those that are borderline criminals, and those that have been deprived of work by another guild… As long as they’re strong, these adventurers can get work at the forest. It’s not on the level of culture anymore. The Great Shurus Forest has a completely different perspective of things.
“That’s why I would only go there for work. Not once would I consider that place to raise a kid in. That’s also why I was surprised to hear that you came from there. It seems you had an upright and respectable family.” [Roche]
“Thank you very much.” [Ryouma]
I was a bit disappointed after the match, but because of that I was able to get some advice and got information from someone who’s been to the Great Shurus Forest.
I don’t know if I can give a positive answer to Roche-san and the guild master’s concern, but I’ll research the party thing when I get back to town.