Various races were making their way along the road leading through the city walls. While I prided myself on my ability to communicate with others, I hadn’t come across many people since arriving in Florence. The road to Ashvelle had proceeded smoothly, without me having to interact much with anyone. There was no reason to be mindful of others, and no one went out of their way to speak to us.
To all those coming and going, I was someone they had never seen before. Someone you’d never seen before was basically a stranger. People wouldn’t pay me any attention, as long as I didn’t do or wear anything that would cause me to stand out. Of course, that’s how things would be if it weren’t for one thing――
――People were pointing this way again. But it wasn’t me drawing their attention. It was Grace, striding along beside me, and paying no heed to those around us. Grace and I had taken clothes fit for adults from among those we found in Rodney’s mansion. We were both armed with swords, though they were only decorative. They were flimsy, and wouldn’t be of much real use.
After losing Neel’s Longsword, Grace had spent some time worrying over what to do about a replacement, but in the end we ended up deciding to head out as soon as we could. If push came to shove, both Grace and I could use magic to fight. If we couldn’t get a sword, it wasn’t the end of the world. Grace had switched out her black outfit for a more natural boyish one. I had argued for a skirt worn by the mansion’s maids, as it was decent clothing and wouldn’t cause a woman to attract needless attention, but she didn’t listen.
――I wonder if maybe she has a grudge against skirts or something? I was also curious as to where Grace had stored her previous outfit, but according to her she had just put it in a pouch. I insisted that no matter how hard she tried, fitting it all inside that small pouch of hers wouldn’t work, but right before my eyes she managed to do it. Apparently, there was a type of daily-life magic known as Inventory, that allowed you to store everyday necessities. Grace went so far as to ask me why I hadn’t known about it. It was quite the inquisition.
After we finished bantering back and forth, we were all ready; if you just looked at the clothes, we were on a two-man journey. But, the real problem was that beauties stand out, even if it’s just their faces. As we drew closer to Asheville, the number of travelers we met on the road increased, as did the stares, double-takes, and pointing.
“――Hey, you’re really standing out.” I mentioned to Grace. It was a conversation we’d had multiple times over the last hour.
“Everyone will forget about it by tomorrow.”
I was confident they wouldn’t forget her that easily. Well, even if they didn’t recall her face, there was no way they’d forget the fact they had seen a real beauty; or the size of those breasts… After walking a little ways further, Grace suddenly pointed ahead.
“I can see the city gates ahead. There are guards at the gates, but as we don’t have any identification, we’ll need to register. The guards can only issue a temporary form of identification, so we’ll have to go somewhere that can vouch for us later.”
“Hmm――so we’ve got to have the adventurer’s guild, or the town mayor to vouch for us, right?”
I was ruminating on the information the now deceased Aslina had told me.
“This is a large city, so it’s not the town mayor but the city mayor, and sadly there’s no way he’ll vouch for us. So we’ll just register with the guild.”
“――Huh? Grace, you don’t have any ID either? “
Ignoring myself, as I’d been taken in by the church all this time, Grace had no ID up til now, so I wondered how she’d managed, but her answer to my inquiry was a simple one.
“Yeah. I come from a place outside of Harland, so I don’t have any ID in this country.”
――I see, people from another country don’t have any identification either it would seem.
Well, even in the world I came from, it wasn’t like the passport system was all-encompassing, so it wasn’t like I couldn’t understand. If this was how things were, then I bet it was safe to assume there were many people without identification.
“By the way, Grace, where are you from? ” I was curious as she’d said from outside Harland, so I asked.
“――I’m from a small village called Felim, located to the East and surrounded by woods.”
I was having difficulty in imagining a tomboy beauty coming from some tiny village in the depths of the forest――.
“So that isn’t Harland.”
“Yeah. I’m from an autonomous settlement outside Harland’s territories.”
Wow, even in this world there are autonomous settlements. While we’d been conversing, the city gates had grown closer. Most people had IDs, so we lined up in the mostly empty line for temporary registration. There were two guards in charge of the registration, both young men. I was completely ignored, as their gazes focused on Grace.
“――You there, you’ve got quite the beauty with you.”
Said a voice, as the documents for temporary registration were handed over.
Just as I was about to respond, Grace, standing beside me, cut in.
“We’re fellow adventurers. We’ve heard the rumors of Asheville, and are here to earn some coin.”
“I see. You’re here for the Adventurer’s Guild, then. There are two dungeons located close to Asheville, but both of them will be difficult if the both of you are swordsmen.” One guard said, briefly looking over our armaments.
I couldn’t help but think the other guard’s gaze was directed at Grace’s bosom――.
“Does that mean there will be magic-wielding opponents? “
“Yeah they use magic, but recently they’ve been forming units and attacking the rearguard. That’s why the guild is recommending that everyone form a proper party beforehand.”
The guard responded with a wide grin to Grace’s question, handily providing us with information. I had a feeling if it had been me asking the question, I wouldn’t have gotten such a good answer――. That’s how I felt, looking at the guard with the lewd expression.
Grace and I finished the temporary registration without issue, and entered Asheville. I say temporary registration, but it was essentially writing our names, genders, ages and where we’re from. Even if the information was questioned, there was no way of obtaining proof.
The largest street in Asheville and its surroundings were made of cobblestone, and it had a nice appeal.
But apart from that, everything else was earthen.
As Grace entered into the city square, she paused and turned to me.
“――First, let’s head to the Adventurer’s Guild and register. After that, we’ll have to see about lodging. Then it’s dinner.” Grace efficiently constructed the order of our actions. If she became a secretary, there was no doubt her secretary skill would be quite high.
My memory was a little fuzzy, and I didn’t know a lot of common-sense things; was the excuse I gave Grace.
She had over-interpreted it in her own way, so most of the daily necessities had been taken care of by her.
There was a chance her mood would sour if she kept bearing the load, but for now, she was still dealing with everything good-naturedly. It would be best if I followed along with whatever she suggested, without arguing.
The Adventurer’s Guild was about a five-minute walk from the main street. The guild’s signage showed two swords crossed above a shield. ――Hmm, if you didn’t know any better, you’d definitely think it was the sign for a weapon-smith or armorer.
This was my first time entering a guild, and the place seemed larger than I thought it would be. It was about the size of an average house, back in my own world.
Opening the door, I saw there quite a lot of people inside. People conversing at the counter, people looking intently at a message board, people just standing and talking; all kinds.
The Adventurer’s Guild was popular in Asheville, so maybe that was the reason.
Most of those inside were men, though there were a few women mixed in. Grace led me up to an available counter. Seeing us, a young woman with shortly cut hair came out from the back.
“――Welcome. What’s your business? ” She was unreservedly looking Grace and I up and down. It seemed we’d been identified as newbies. Grace placed the proof of temporary registration for two on the counter.
“I would like to register with the Adventurer’s Guild.”
“Both of you? “
“In that case, I’ll give you the registration form, so fill out the required sections. Can you read? “
“Yes, I can.”
Taking registration forms for two, Grace began filling them out with a pen that was on the counter. It seemed she had filled hers out first, then moved to mine when she’d finished.
After handing over the completed forms to the girl with the short hair, a lithograph made its appearance on the counter.
“I’ll check your affinities next, so one at a time place your right hand here.”
Following the woman’s guidance, Grace put her right hand over the lithograph.
Apparently it was a magic item, as right after Grace placed her right hand over it, a pentagram appeared, turning a blackish color a moment later.
“Well now――that’s rare. The shadow attribute.”
The woman wrote in ‘shadow attribute’ on the form she had taken from Grace.
――Shit, now it’s my turn.
Now that I think about it, Aslina had said something like “Register your affinity with a guild――” Or some such, and I’d totally forgotten.
Grace moved aside, beckoning me to place my hand over the lithograph. The girl behind the counter also turned her gaze on me, as though urging me to hurry up. With no help for it, I gently placed my hand over the lithograph. The lithograph responded similarly as before, with a pentagram appearing, but after that, nothing happened.
“――Huh? Did it break? Try putting your hand on it again.”
Breaking into a cold sweat, I once again placed my right hand over it. Again the pentagram appeared over the lithograph――but nothing happened.
“Hmmm, I wonder why? Maybe it’s broken after all? For now, I’ll leave this field blank, so check it out again later.”
“Ah, alright.” Nodding vigorously, I moved back behind Grace. After somehow managing to successfully register as adventurers, we went to look at the guild’s message board.
The guild’s message board had postings about quests or party recruiting, information on dungeons and the like. Among them, as the guard had said, were “Enemies forming ranks” and “Rear guard is getting assaulted”. Things like that were certainly written.
And, around the memos with that information, were posted listings about “recruiting for a party”.
“――There’s nothing really valuable here.” Grace said, after scanning over them all. I didn’t know what it was she considered valuable though――.
It was at that moment, I spotted a sheaf of paper posted a little ways away from the rest of the party recruitment listings. Looking closer, I saw it was also a party recruitment listing as well.
“Tanker, Attacker, Healer needed. —Silvia.”
――What’s with this? It’s not like I didn’t understand what she was asking, but compared with the other listings which described the job class and skills needed, what the dungeon was and what monsters they’d fight, sometimes even how the loot would be shared; this one was lacking in specifics.
Though I had been drawn to it for a moment, I deleted the contents of the memo from my mind, and followed Grace out of the Adventurer’s Guild. After the Adventurer’s Guild, we needed to secure lodgings. I had imagined the fantasy trope that “rooms were on the second floor of a tavern”, but it turned out to be a hotel-like stonework building.
I asked Grace about it, and it turns out that taverns where the second floor has sleeping quarters, are located in the more dangerous neighborhoods, so she wanted to stay here for the first night.
Preparing two separate single rooms, Grace paid the fare upfront.
――Thinking back, as the only part-time job I’d had was helping out at the church, I had practically no money.
The selje was apparently Harland’s unit of currency, and Grace had paid 4000 selje for the two rooms.
The pay I’d received for helping out at the church had amounted to around 100 selje a day, so I understood how expensive this hotel was.
Even if I used everything I’d ever saved, I wouldn’t be able to stay for even a week. After we’d prepared a place to sleep, we headed to a dining hall nearby the inn. As Asheville was a port town, it was full of seafood.
This morning, when we’d changed clothes in Rodney’s mansion, we’d nibbled on some things that had been lying around, but had eaten nothing since then. Dusk was at hand, and I was so hungry it felt like my stomach and back were sticking together.
Grace and I ordered the quickest to prepare appetizers, and a lavish portion of fish. After our starving bellies had their fill, Grace tilted her liqueur glass to her lips, before speaking to me.
“Kei, I have a few questions I’d like to ask.” Sipping at my beer, I nodded for her to continue.
“Actually there’s a mountain of things I want to ask…First, regarding the attribute check at the guild.”The first question was a tough one to talk about. Looking at Grace’s face, I saw she was serious. It didn’t seem like I’d be able to half-ass my way out of this one.
“You see, I know what it means when that kind of response happens. ――Kei, you don’t have an affinity, do you? “
She hit the jackpot right off the bat. I had made my assumptions about how rare a thing it was to be without any affinity, but as Grace was aware of it, then I guess it wasn’t too crazy a thing.
“That’s right.” I didn’t think denying it would be the smart choice, so I responded simply.
“As I thought…In that case, I can understand the strange skill I saw when we fought. That was non-attribute magic, then.”
“The term non-attribute magic came later; it was just something I worked out during my training. Turning the magical energy into a bullet and firing, turning it into a wall to defend…For convenience, I’ve been calling it magic-ball and magic-wall though.”
“If nobody taught you, and worked it out on your own, that’s really amazing. Can you use any other magic, Kei? “
“Daily magic…though I really can’t use anything besides light, and some healing magic Aslina taught me.”
“The way I see it, Kei, you’ve no doubt got a really high affinity for magic. What’s more, during the fight with Rodney, you managed to enchant my sword. While it may just be recover and non-attribute for now, if you study properly, I’m sure you could learn to use a wide variety of magic.”
It wasn’t unpleasant, being told I had talent, but this talent came from me being able to see my status, and reasoning out the best course of action for the most positive outcome…
“――Grace, what attribute can you use again? ” I knew from her status, but still I asked.
“I can use fire, wind and shadow.”
“Being able to use three attributes, isn’t that really amazing? “
“――Perhaps.” For some reason, Grace’s expression clouded over, and she responded in a soft voice.
“Well, that’s perfect. It doesn’t have to be today, but could you teach me the basics? “
“Yeah, of course. ――I just remembered, there’s a shop run by the Magician’s Guild here in the city, if you care to check it out? There are magical texts in the shop. Beginner-level magic can be learned from such texts after all.”
Oh! That does sound good.
That day, when Grace and I finally returned to the inn after exchanging information, it was well into the dark of night.
As Grace was chasing demons, there was no telling how long we’d be together. I had no idea when our paths would diverge, but for now I needed to become a self-reliant adventurer before then.
Okay…I’m sorry this is so late. Really, really sorry…But I’ve got one word for ya’ll.
His name is Liam, and he’s super cute…He was born Nov. 22, and for the past month and a half, I’ve come face-to-face with God, the Devil, an Angel and Demon. All wrapped up in a 4.5kg package of meat that drinks milk and shi*s brown pudding. 😉
I will continue translating!!! I have also been picking up Neural Machine Translation, and using things like python, tensorflow, pytorch, seq2seq, OpenNMT-py etc to do it. If anyone is interested, let me know. I could use webnovel Ja-En parallel data if anyone’s got it?? 😉