“I remembered it because of Niki, but when we looked for him yesterday, the number of goblins we defeated was five all in all, right?” [Kai]
“Yeah. That should be correct, right, guys?” [Ryouma]
The other four also agreed. There’s no doubt about it.
“This is something I heard when cleaning up earlier, but apparently, a cage was found in a forest near a neighboring village.” [Kai]
As soon as I heard that, alarms immediately went blaring in my head.
…But the five of them didn’t appear alarmed and just looked like a nuisance had appeared.
“Umm… Guys? You do realize this is a big deal, right?” [Ryouma]
Cages are tools meant for restraining something, and based on how the conversation has been going until now, that something would probably be the goblins. If so, then does that mean that someone let those goblins loose? …Surely not, right?
While I was thinking that, the leader Shin-san said this.
“Normally, your reaction would be correct, but the same thing happens around these parts several times a year. That’s why to us word of these things being spotted feels more like a chore than anything.” [Shin]
I asked more about it, and it turns out this problem is actually because of the nobles from the neighboring territories, who happen to be harassing the feudal lord of this territory.
It’s obvious that this is the work of a human, but there’s no evidence to point to any specific person.
Any moderately competent dimension mage would be able to pop in, drop a cage, and leave, after all.
“Does the feudal lord of this territory have a bad relationship with the neighboring territories?” [Ryouma]
“It’s more that the other territories are one-sidedly hostile. I don’t know the details, but the feudal lord is a friendly and nice person. There’s that rice that we talked about earlier too, but that’s not all there is to him. You’ll hear plenty of stories of him trying to improve our lives.” [Kai]
“This region isn’t suited toward farming. That’s why in the past the natural blessings we could get were a matter of life and death… There were times when children died of starvation because we couldn’t catch any fish. Fortunately, we never went through anything like that, but… I hear that that’s also because of the present feudal lord.” [Kei]
“Word has it that the neighboring feudal lord is domineering, but the feudal lord here isn’t like that.” [Shin]
“In fact, he’s not really ‘like’ your common noble. From time to time, he would walk out on the streets on his own two legs, search for delicious food, and blend in with the people and eat with them.” [Sein]
I see… Apparently the feudal lord here is loved by the people.
“Well, anyway… This goblin incident is something that occurs frequently. After a while, the feudal lord will get word of it, someone will come to investigate, and we’ll keep an eye out in our own way. That’s how we’ve always dealt with it until now.” [Peiron]
“To be honest, I’m more concerned about our work in the following days.” [Kai]
“Supposedly some of the adventurers will be moved elsewhere. Talks are still ongoing, but we should consider the matter decided.” [Shin]
“Didn’t the leader talk about it too earlier? During the subjugation of the mud salamanders?” [Sein]
“We did have an easy time except for when we had to recover the corpses, after all. If we didn’t mess up the timing of recovering the bodies, we could have done with less people… What do you think, Ryouma?” [Kei]
“I agree with you, Kei. We can defend the processing plants as long as the slimes are around, and I think it’ll be good training too to do things with less people.” [Ryouma]
Most of the work today was dealt with by the slimes, so in the next few days, I should focus more on my own training. Carrying corpses that need several people’s hands through several laps should serve as good stamina and strength training. If I want I could also use it to train my Dimension Magic.
In other words, I get to do both my work and my hobby at the same time!
For some reason, the five of them laughed when I said that.
I asked them why they were laughing, and they just said, “you sure are hardworking”.
What’s really curious is they’re looking at me with such warm gazes… I wonder why?
Well, in any case, it doesn’t feel like they mean anything bad about it, so whatever.
After that we talked idly and ate what’s left on our plates, and then—
“Alright, guys. See you later.” [Ryouma]
—I parted with the members of the Wharf of Shikumu and waited for Niki-kun’s shift to end.
I promised to talk with him about slimes, so…. Oh, speaking of which, exactly what about slimes should I talk about with him? There’s someone finally interested in slimes, so as much as possible, I’d like to make the conversation interesting. It wouldn’t do good to be too pushy… Hmm~… Proselytizing people about the greatness of slimes sure is difficult…
“Oh, yeah, Ryouma. Keep it in moderation, okay? …Hey! Are you listening?” [Kai]
“Hmm~ It doesn’t seem like it. Well, either way, he’ll probably be back by supper. Neesan is here at the processing plant too, anyway.” [Kei]
…Huh? I feel like Kai-san and Kei-san called me just now, but when I looked around me they were already gone and the people eating were growing less and less. Was it just my imagination?