Volume 2 Chapter 33 part1
“Thank you for the food.” [Ryouma]
It was lunch break and I’d just finished eating my meal at a corner of that wide-open area. The other adventurers were still eating, however, and in fact, there were some who’d just started.
I tend to eat quickly when I’m by myself. Now what? Jeff-san and the others went to get information and eat with the other adventurers, so I can’t bother them.
With nothing to do, I figured I’d take care of the slimes first.
“Excuse me.” [Ryouma]
I called out to the receptionist responsible for handling jobs other than things regarding the subjugation.
“Ara, Ryouma-kun.” [Maelyn]
“Hi, Maelyn-san. Do you have some time?” [ryouma]
“Sure. What is it?” [Maelyn]
“I just want to inform the guild that I’ll be leaving the area to feed the slimes until break ends. Also, have you received any monster corpses yet?” [Ryouma]
“They have, so go ahead and get as much as you want. You’ve already paid in advance, so as long as you show the guild staff your guild card, they’ll hand them over to you.
I’ll note your leave, but be careful, alright? And make sure to come back once break ends.” [Maelyn]
“There’s a roll call per party, right?” [Ryouma]
“That’s right. In the instance, you’re late and are unable to make it to work, you have to report to the reception desk. We’re doing this to prevent people from stealthily leaving their post to commit robbery. If you fail to show up, you will be treated as someone who’s shirked his duties and will not receive pay. This is non-negotiable.” [Maelyn]
“Got it. Thanks.” [Ryouma]
After heeding Maelyn-san’s warning, I left the reception desk, got four portions of monster corpses, and left the area.
“Here should be good… ‘Dimension Home’” [Ryouma]
After walking for a while and up a steep hill, I managed to find a place with no people.
If it’s here, I should be able to immediately tell when a monster or a person approaches.
Slimes came out one after another through a white hole and into the hill road, then I gave them the monster corpses to feed on.
First, I had the cleaner slimes eat the filth, then divided the remains into four. After that, I placed a giant vessel full of water beside the remains and gave the order for the slimes to eat. When I did, the big or huge variant of the poison, sticky, acid, and scavenger slimes appeared and they feasted on the mountain of food.
I had to prepare food for the metal slimes next, so I went to do just that, but while preparing its food, the metal slime started to dig a hole on the ground to eat the soil.
Can it eat the iron content within the soil?
…But it’s not making any progress digging.
Rather than digging, the metal slime actually looked like it was throwing a tantrum for being the only one without food.
I hurried myself and quickly put a bowl full of iron powder on the ground. At that, the metal slime stopped trying to dig and hurriedly went to its bowl. The only reason I could tell it was hurrying, however, was because of the contract, but if you just looked at it, it was actually moving very slowly.
I guess that iron body must really be weighing it down.
As the metal slime sucked in the iron, I sat beside it and watched it eat.
It was in this way that I passed the time.
Speaking of which, the heal slimes didn’t eat food and instead photosynthesized, so they basked in the sunlight behind me while everyone else ate.
After the slimes finished eating, there was something bothering me, so I brought them all back except a poison slime, a sticky slime, and an acid slime.
I placed a plate in front of each slime and asked them to spit on it. The poison slime spit poison, the sticky slime spit its sticky liquid, and the acid slime spit acid.
The metal slime’s body was hard and it possessed the skill ‘harden’.
I know it’s strong against physical attacks, but I wonder if it can handle poison?
I don’t know, so we’re going to find that out now.
It’s just me watching its reaction while it approaches the various plates, though.
First came poison.
“…Unaffected, huh.” [Ryouma]
The metal slime didn’t react even a little. A sticky slime would back off here, but the metal slime didn’t care. It can stand perfectly fine beside the poison slime.
Next is the sticky liquid.
“…It’s fine with this one too.” [Ryouma]
The metal slime had no reaction to the first two, but when acid came, it finally showed a reaction.
When it approached the plate of acid, its body squirmed more than normal as if it were melting, and then it gradually backed away.
“So, it’s bad with acid… This sure reminds me of a science experiment.” [Ryouma]
There was an experiment in the past where we had to put hydrochloric acid on a metal foil… How nostalgic.
I didn’t want to scare it too much, so I put an end to the experiment there.
After I took away the plates and disposed of them, the metal slime calmed down. But because it ran away in a panic, its body was now dirty.
I should wipe it.
When I tried rubbing it with a towel, its shape contorted according to my touch. Rubbing it gave a mysterious feeling impossible for metal and was really fun.
“Good! …I think it’s about time we came back…?” [Ryouma]
After checking the time on the clock that I’d acquired previously, I realized I should be getting back soon, so I invoked Dimension Home to put the metal slime back in, but I dropped it.
The metal slime usually took on a warped shape, but the current metal slime was a ball. That ball just made contact with a steep hill.
“Dimension Ho— !?” [Ryouma]
Following the shrill sound with my eyes, I saw a ball rolling down the hill at a terrifying speed.
When I looked down to my legs, I saw that the metal slime was gone.
I was about to chase after it by reflex, but then it occurred to me that there were still 3 slimes left outside.
If I leave them here, some other adventurer might come across them, and…
So, quickly, I picked up the three slimes and chased after the metal slime that had already rolled a long distance away after just a few seconds.
A person would die when hit in the wrong spot, but slimes didn’t even need to be hit in the wrong spot to die. They were fragile creatures. Because of that I couldn’t help but worry despite the iron slime’s hardened body.
The metal slime eventually stopped rolling when it crashed into a thicket of weeds.
The metal slime was unmoving.
“Are you alright?” [Ryouma]
As I approached the metal slime to check its condition, it gradually stood back up, twisting and warping as it did. Apparently, it was just shocked, but was otherwise unhurt.
That sure gave me a scare.
When I have the time, I should check how much force the metal slime can take. It should be safe as long as we don’t hit the nucleus… Or, no. I think I should put this off until after the metal slime reproduces.
After making up my mind, I picked up the metal slime.
“……! ………?” [???]
I focused my attention to it and found that I wasn’t hearing things. It was the voice of a person, several voices, in fact. It should be… somewhere near the wide area. It must be one of the adventurers who took on the job.
The voices seem to be quarreling, though? I don’t know what they’re talking about, but it sounds dangerous.
“It bothers me… Let’s check it out.” [Ryouma]
There’s no point even if I go to the guild master and the reception desk now since I’m not even sure if they’re actually arguing.
With a sticky slime on head, a poison slime and an acid slime on either shoulder, I walked toward the direction of those voices.
Volume 2 Chapter 33 part2
After walking for a while in the direction of the quarreling voices, I found myself near the bottom of the mine, in a place where the light was dim due to all the trees, and there, by the corner, where the red soil was after being thrown from the cliff, were a group of adventurers in gear. There were over 10 of them. I couldn’t see very well because of the shadow of the mountain, but I could tell that they were surrounding someone.
“Enough already!” [???]
“You’re just a buncha thieves only good for stealing other people’s spoils!” [???]
The surrounding men screamed jeers.
Their speech was rough perhaps because of anger or perhaps simply because they were lowbred, but either way, the current situation was grim.
Are they fighting?
“We’re not thieves!! We got it from someone!!” [???]
Huh? Haven’t I heard this voice before?
Brats who steals other people’s spoils… And a familiar voice.
I wrung out my hazy memory to try and recall.
…Could they be?
Paying careful attention to the direction of the wind as I usually did when hunting, I quietly moved through the trees and grasses and walked behind the men.
When I was about 50 meters away, my suspicions were confirmed.
On either side were slag heaps, and in front were two groups of men facing each other. Behind one group, which was made up of three young boys, were three young girls, who had their backs to a cliff. Although both the boys and the girls were frightened, they still tried to cover each other.
They struck a posture that suggested they were ready to fight the approaching men.
Yes, the young boys and girls were indeed the ones I met back at the cave just as I’d suspected.
…Huh? W-Which side started this mess?
“Don’t look down on us, slum brats!!” [Older adventurer]
I have no idea how things ended up like this, but the situation looks bad. Fortunately, things haven’t escalated yet, but I can’t exactly just show myself and tell these bandit-like people to stop. Let’s watch first and see how things develop.
At first glance, the 10 men look like the bad guys since they’re surrounding a group of 6 kids, but it’s them we’re talking about, so I wonder.
Those kids did just wordlessly take our spoils without saying a word, so if they did the same thing to those men, it’d be hard to fault them. Taking unwanted spoils just barely falls outside of larceny, but if those men want an apology, they deserve one.
I don’t think pushing the kids into a corner like this is a good idea, though.
In our case, everyone in my party but me called out to them and scolded them as a warning, but we didn’t push them to a corner and shouted jeers at them. There’s a big difference between this and back then.
The kids aren’t talking anymore. They’re already at the point where they feel they have to make a move. They’re literally one step away from a fight.
The best course of action is to call someone who can calm the situation down, but I can’t make it back with a single Warp… Moreover, I’m not capable of taking another person with me when using Warp. Pushing myself and causing an accident is out of the question. And if I ask someone else, we’ll end up taking unnecessary time when they ask for the location.
I don’t want to leave those 6 for too long since the other group is made up of either guys who’d willingly lay a hand on them or guys who just flat out don’t care.
Of course, I’m also one of the people just watching, but I’m confident I can put a stop to them with force should the need arise.
Sigh… What to do?
Considering what might happen, staying here might be for the best, but then I won’t be able to call anyone. On on one hand, I could call someone else to handle the situation, but the problem is that would put the kids in danger until I return.
…It’s nice to be alone, but times like these are really inconvenient…
I’ve never been hurried by anyone back at the forest, so it’s been a while since I was last inconvenienced by not having enough hands.
Hmm… The exact number of the men surrounding them is 12. They’re all more or less 20 years-old, but there’s one with a beard who looks like he’s 30.
He’s the only one who looks strong. The others aren’t even worth mentioning. But even that bearded guy doesn’t seem to have noticed me. At that level, the bandits I fought before were more dangerous.
It doesn’t seem that dangerous, but those 12 are definitely stronger than the kids. Since they have the numerical advantage too, there’s no hope for the kids winning. Self-defense is probably impossible too.
“Well, say something!” [Older adventurer]
…Well, if they stole something, then 10 or 20 punches is about right. Back in my days, corporal punishment was a given be it in school or at home. Of course, the current Japan would make a fuss now if such a thing were to be done, but this is another world. Here, this much is a given to discipline kids.
If they stole something, then normally they would have to be handed to the disciplinary office of the adventurers guild, so if anything, a few punches is getting off lightly.
It’s true what they did doesn’t completely fall under a crime, but it’s still close enough. And Jeff-san and the others already warned them earlier. So since they refused to take their advice, then I wish they’d clean this mess up on their own. In the first place, there’s not much point to me showing myself when we just met once.
Of course, I won’t just sit still if they go overboard.
But all this is based on the premise that they did in fact do wrong. If they’re not in the wrong, then there’s no need to be hit.
So, is it the 6 at fault or not?
In the end, I just came back right where I started like a broken record or something. This isn’t going anywhere.
…Yeah, let’s just ask them.
I put down the relatively untrained metal slime on the ground and stood up.
“Excuse me!” [Ryouma]
“Over there!” [Older Adventurer 1]
“A-A talking slime!?” [Older Adventurer 2]
“You fool! Look a little lower! There’s a head underneath the slime!” [Older Adventurer 3]
“Why the hell does that brat have three slimes on top of him!” [Older Adventurer 1]
“How long have you been there, you brat!?” [Older Adventurer 2]
“Sorry to intrude when you’re so busy.” [Ryouma]
When I left the thickets and revealed myself, the men turned to me with suspicion.
The group of kids also saw me, and when they did, one of the girls let out a voice.
“Ah, it’s you…” [Girl Adventurer 1]
When the men heard that, they smiled.
“What? So you’re one of them too?” [Older Adventurer 1]
“Not at all. I’m just passing by, actually.” [Ryouma]
The men weren’t buying it, however.
“From the looks of things, everyone here is an adventurer participating in the monster subjugation quest, yes? It’s almost the appointed time, so I was on the way back when I suddenly heard some people arguing.” [Ryouma]
“Really now? These guys seem to know you, though?” [Older Adventurer 1]
“Aren’t you just a thief too?” [Older Adventurer 2]
“I mean that’s a nice armor you’re wearing even though you’re just a kid.” [Older Adventurer 3]
The men started appraising me. Their eyes were all drawn to the armor I wore.
“I just happened to meet those 6 in the tunnel this morning. Did they steal something from you?” [Ryouma]
“That’s right. These twerps—” [Older Adventurer 4]
“We got the monster corpses from that kid’s group!” [Boy Adventurer 5]
“We didn’t steal your spoils!” [Girl Adventurer 6]
“Shut up!” [Older Adventurer 7]
“Do you have any proof!? You don’t!” [Older Adventurer 8]
“They’re telling the truth. My group agreed to give them the spoils. If you can’t trust me, then I can let you meet one of our members. Everyone else in my group is an accomplished adventurer, so I’m sure you’ll find their word trustworthy.
Anyway, it’s almost time for our roll call. Do you mind?” [Ryouma]
When I spoke truthfully, the behavior of the adventurers changed.
“W-We wouldn’t want to trouble your group…” [Older Adventurer 9]
“This is our problem, after all.” [Older Adventurer 10]
“You better not just be trying to buy time to destroy evidence!” [Older Adventurer 11]
“You might be plotting to cry help from someone! We can’t trust you!” [Older Adventurer 1]
“We don’t want to cause a scene either, you know!” [Older Adventurer 2]
“If this turns into a huge scandal, those kids will have a hard time getting a job!” [Older Adventurer 3]
It’s not obvious from their words, but when you look at the way they’re acting, it’s no different from how youngsters act when they try to hide screwing up at work.
It seems they don’t want others to know about this.
Seeing how the men didn’t want to clarify things, the equal scale within my mind tipped toward the 6 adventurers.
After a while, the one adventurer who hadn’t said anything until now finally spoke.
“I agree that there’s no point in further talks.” [Older Adventurer 12]
“Sacchi-san!?” [Older Adventurer 1]
The man called Sacchi spoke to me.
So, he really was their leader.
The other men went quiet when he spoke.
Well, he does look like the toughest one.
“You’ve got guts, brat. Just how did you manage to approach us undetected anyway? You know, I was paying careful attention to our surroundings in case some monster were to approach.” [Sacchi]
“I may look like this, but I’m still a hunter, so I specialize in hunting.” [Ryouma]
“I see… You guys, any further talk is just a waste of time. Just as the kid says, it’s almost time for the roll call, so… Let’s put an end to this.” [Sacchi]
Sacchi said the same thing I said before. He said it so decidedly you wouldn’t think he was the leader of these men who were raising up a fuss just a while ago.
Those men didn’t look like they were about to defy him either.
The men blocking the 6 adventurers’ way snorted, then they drew their weapons.