Chapter 343, Distracted Eyes and Ears
With all of us agreeing to head to T’oued, we spent the remainder of the day resting up in the hideout.
Wouldn’t want Natsu, who’s already in T’oued right now, to stay up late into the night and help us get things set up, after all.
In my room, both Pochi and I crashed onto the bed and immediately fell asleep.
Well, rather than sleeping, it felt more like fainting, really.
My body’s been strained THAT much, apparently.
“Master! MASTER! Breakfast! It’s time for BREAKFAST!”
“Ugh… what time is it now, Pochi”
“According to the status of my stomach… it is eight o’clock, thirty-two minutes, sir!”
God damn, that’s exactly what my Biological Clock magecraft says, too.
Really, though, the ‘status of her stomach’ How the hell does she do that
“Right, and we’re supposed to meet up with everyone else at nine… Whew.”
I got out of bed, got a change of clothes, and went out of the room with Pochi.
Stepping into the mess hall, I saw that Bruce was already there, devouring his breakfast.
“Mornin’, man! Get ready to get busy today! Here, I already ordered stuff for you guys, so eat up!”
Man, despite his lack of refinement, he’s always a real bro, this guy.
Pochi and I proceeded to eat together with Bruce, and at some point, Betty and Lylia came over to our table.
Lylia’s arrival had been unexpected, so she had to share a room with Betty.
Looks like they’re having fun chatting with each other as they walk.
Heh, makes me wonder if they got to talk a lot last night as well.
Well, this is Betty I’m talking about — she’s probably friendly enough to get along with just anybody.
Blazer met up with us a little while later.
Exactly on time, too.
“All right, then– Burp…”
“Ugh, mind your manners, brother.”
“That’s right, Bruce– Burp…”
“Mind your manners, Pochi.”
After Bruce and Pochi were done with their comical apology, Blazer stood up.
“Natsu’s here,” he said as he looked in the direction of the soldiers’ quarters.
And so Natsu arrived, trotting out of the hallway.
For a moment, there seemed to be a subtle change in Lylia’s expression when she saw her.
“That little girl can cast the Teleportation spell Isn’t she too young to manage that”
“She should be fifteen now — that’s about as old as Giorno back in the day, right And surely she’s had enough training to pull it off.”
“…Ah, now that you reminded me, yes.
Giorno WAS at about that age when he headed to the front lines, too.”
“Yeah, that’s what I meant.”
To be fair to her, though, Natsu is a little smaller than Fuyu and other girls their age.
“Blazer! Good morning!”
Natsu jumped into Blazer’s arms with a thud.
These two sure get along real well, huh
“Good morning, Natsu.”
“So, anything unusual happened over there”
Betty asked as he patted Natsu’s head.
“So yesterday, Haruhana found herself surrounded by a bunch of big guys! So scary!”
Man, T’oued sounds like a dangerous place.
“But then she pulled out her katana and went woosh woosh woosh, and destroyed all their clothes! Oh, but they still had their underwear, at least!”
Man, the Silver sounds like a dangerous team.
“Didn’t that already happen some time ago Well, none of us is very used to T’oued yet, so we’re bound to run into trouble, I guess”
Betty said with a giggle.
So it happened at least once before, huh Haruhana really has gotten strong, being able to deal with that.
Estimating with all the stuff I’ve heard from everyone, the Silver’s evaluation as a team could probably be considered S-Ranked by now.
From what I’ve been told, even Natsu is set to take the rank-up evaluation so that she could get promoted to Rank S, too.
Looks like everyone’s been working quite hard.
“All right, then! Time to go, yeah To T’oued!”
Everyone nodded to Bruce, and one by one, we stepped onto the Teleportation Spell Circle that Natsu had drawn.
It’s been 5,000 years since my last time there… I’m a bit curious to see how it is now.
“…So where are we exactly”
“It’s my room, in an inn in Eddo, the capital city!”
Natsu answered the question I made as soon as I arrived.
“We have been expecting you, Sir Asley.”
And that’s Ryan — looks like he’s been waiting in this room.
“Sir Ryan! What about the others”
“They’re waiting at the Eddo Adventurers’ Guild.
I’m here on a separate mission.”
A separate mission, huh I wonder what it is
Ryan handed Blazer a sheet of paper.
“…So, all we need now is the leader’s signature.
Blazer said just that and separated from the rest of us.
The reason is probably in the sheet of paper that Ryan just passed to him.
Ryan led us along the way, and from what I saw, Eddo’s atmosphere was largely unchanged from 5,000 years ago.
Same problem here as over there — the Devil King’s existence is limiting the evolution of civilization.
Makes me wonder, is it possible to erase the fundamental concept of ‘Devil King’ altogether
There are a LOT of issues that need to be considered, of course, but the five-thousand-year cycle we have now is nothing but a temporary fix.
I mean, what’s actually important is the elimination of that cycle along with everything else, right
While I was pondering things over, we arrived at the Eddo Adventurers’ Guild.
From what I’m seeing, the place also doubles as an outdoor bar.
I can see exactly where the Guild receptionist is, even from the outside.
Despite there being seats outdoors, though, there’s a lot of activity indoors too, as apparent from all the echoing noises.
The establishment is probably designed to accommodate both styles.
I opened the door, and I saw that there was another receptionist inside.
Hmm… How exactly does that work
“Oh yeah, it’s your first time here, right The counter over here is for accepting requests, and the one outside is for reporting.”
Damn, Betty, now that’s what I call a brief explanation.
Well, that’s not a bad setup when efficiency is taken into consideration.
This place is the capital city of T’oued, so there are bound to be a lot of requests circulating in the system.
As I walked up to the counter, I heard a couple of familiar voices — and they sounded happy.
Those should be… Haruhana and Adolf.
Mana is here, too, and she started fixing her hair as soon as she saw me.
Hmm, looks like she’s just been on a tough monster hunt, huh
“I am so glad to see that you are well!”
“Sir Asley! I have this quest that I’d like you to help with! Please”
Haruhana is as modest as ever, and Adolf is a fair bit more excitable than before, his eyes sparkling like a little kid.
Haruhana’s stance is even more refined and vigilant than she already was.
She probably has Betty’s training to thank for that.
And Adolf… he’s grown up so much that he’s almost a whole different guy from when he was in Faltown.
Man, the young ones grow up so fast nowadays.
“Sure, I’ll go with you if I have time.”
I smiled at Adolf, but then he took a glance to my side.
“By the way, who is this”
“Ah, well… Her name is Lylia.
She’s a friend.”
For some reason, Lylia turned to me, seemingly annoyed.
Wait, she’s not looking at me — not exactly.
Her sight is directed a little downward… at my arm Yup, my arm.
Specifically, the side that Haruhana is clinging to right now.
Haruhana, noticing that she was being looked at, promptly let go.
Considering her background, perhaps it’s not unusual for her to greet people this… intimately, but I’ve got a feeling that she’d gotten especially close to me last time I met her as well.
“And… uh, she’s really dependable, you know.
Better stay on her good side!”
With me saying that, Lylia nodded without saying anything.
So she’s… pleased with that introduction, I guess
“Y-yes, of course! A pleasure to meet you, ma’am!”
Is she… feeling embarrassed
Well, that’s not out of the question, actually; she HAS matured emotionally quite a bit since I last met her.
Lylia proceeded to exchange some brief greetings with everyone.
For some reason, though, her greetings for Haruhana and Mana seem a little longer than everyone else’s.
Or is it just my imagination
And now Pochi is giggling Weird… Well, maybe they’re getting along more easily because they’re all women
“So, Lylia, what’s the good place that you mentioned”
“It is a location on the other side of the Eddo Kamiyama.
At least back in the day, it was full of monsters with extremely high power levels.”
“Kamiyama, huh… We might need to deal with some red tape before we can go there.”
Even if we’ll just be passing through, we need a permit from some government official to be let into Kamiyama’s perimeter.
“Nothing guarantees that they’re still there after all this time, of course.
We ought to start by gathering intel, don’t you think”
Lylia said and turned to me.
That, and going on monster hunts.
Getting ourselves used to T’oued as a whole is important.
Isn’t that right, Sir Ryan”
“I am of the same opinion.
Reyna, go see if there are any interesting party quests up for the accepting.”
Reyna stood up; Reid and Blazer followed her.
A team can accept only three party quests at once.
They probably need to do some careful examination to pick out the best ones.
“Pochi, I’m stepping outside for a bit.”
I whispered to Pochi, and she immediately understood what I meant.
“To see Kaoru and Jun’ko, sir”
“Yeah, gotta ask them for permission to enter Kamiyama, and I want to talk with them about some stuff, too.”
Be careful, Master.”
When I stood up, Ryan asked where I was going, and all I had to tell him was that I had some minor errands to run.
This place is pretty close to the temple where Kaoru and Jun’ko are, so I should be able to get back by the time the hunting quests are picked out for us.
I left the Guild and jogged to the temple, and along the way, I felt my nose being tickled by a… distinctive smell.
More specifically, musk.
Probably from perfume, put on by the woman I had just run past.
I turned around and saw that the woman had tan skin, unlike the locals… And for a moment, she subtly glanced at me.
She’s dressed in some sort of traditional costume that exposes her decently toned midriff.
She has a golden circlet on her forehead.
The lower half of her face is hidden behind a veil, and her light purple eyes have a… bewitching aura to them.
For some unexplainable reason, I can’t take my eyes off her.
Now I can’t take my EARS off her, either.