“Uu… My head… I’ve never drank so much before…”
Nick felt it was morning and sluggishly got up. Apparently he fell asleep on the floor.
He was used to sleeping in a huddle so it didn’t hurt him, and it helped him hold back the alcohol still in his body.
Still, it was a pretty neat inn. There weren’t any holes in the walls, the windows had, glass and the curtains were pulled. Nick had never stayed in such a high class inn.
“Why are we here… Where even are we?”
Nick looked around and saw people lying around like him.
A female sorcerer, a dragon girl, and a pretty boy priest.
Only the sorcerer was sleeping on the bed, but they all looked very cozy.
There was a magic book on the desk and a sorcerer’s robe in the coat rack, so obviously this was the inn where the sorcerer was staying. It wasn’t just some cheap inn where you could stay for one day either, it looked like one of those expensive ones that you rented for a week or a month.
Nick guessed himself and the other two crashed in her room.
‘…Who are these people again?’
“Hum, wait. I went to New Beads and… I remember, I couldn’t form a party with anyone.”
Nick took a deep breath, and slowly started remembering what happened the previous night.
Nick was eating thin barley porridge and drinking lukewarm ale when he screamed what he was thinking.
““““Humans can’t be trusted!!!!””””
Those were his deepest, truest feelings.
Nick remembered the confused look on the happy adventurers sitting at the table next to theirs.
Usually Nick would be angry at those people, but he had other things on his mind. The three adventurers sitting with him just said the exact same thing he did.
Nick looked at them and timidly lowered his head.
“S-Sorry. I’ve been under a lot of stress and… I yelled.”
The sorcerer responded with “I-I’ve been on edge too… I apologize.” and lowered her head.
The dragon warrior and the priest then nervously lowered their heads as well.
Everyone looked awkward, and that awkwardness became a strange sense of affinity, and the mood became less tense.
Nick asked the priest.
“You don’t look like a new adventurer… Why are you in a place like this?”
There was no way he could say something so embarrassing… Or so it seemed, but the words just started coming out of his mouth. Maybe it was because they all had the same look on their faces.
Sense of inferiority, shame, frustration, pity, etc, that sort of thing was mixing together and creating an air of ‘failure’ around them that Nick could sense. Somehow, Nick felt he could talk to them without being laughed at or looked down on, and so he started speaking.
“I… Was kicked out from my party.”
“The people in my former party are very adventurer-like, in a bad way. They’re the kind of people that can’t hold on to money overnight because they end up spending it. Even when the adventuring goes well they would just spend everything in a flash, and before we knew it, not only did we not have any money left, but we had to start borrowing from merchants… We even had trouble coming up with the money to service our weapons.”
“…That sounds rough.”
The sorcerer softly nodded her head in agreement.
“So I started managing our wallet to control where we should and shouldn’t spend money, but they wouldn’t stop badgering me about it. They started throwing accusations that we didn’t have enough money because I was taking it for myself, but I swear to god I never did it.”
“…So you were falsely accused.”
The priest said with a pained look on his face.
“I always did my best to repay my debt to our leader, Argus. I did everything I could for our party, but it was all for nothing.”
“For your party…”
Said Karan the dragon girl, looking as though she was about to cry.
“And that’s not all, my girlfriend abandoned me too. Or rather, I was the only one that saw us as a couple, she just saw me as a source of money.
After that I got desperate, I became a fan of idols, and now I’m penniless.”
All three nodded bitterly.
“Then I started thinking about forming a new party, but couldn’t find anyone to form a party with me… I was irritated so I yelled. It’s my own fault for spending so much money on idols though…”
The adventurers in the table next to theirs awkwardly said “I… guess it’s time to call it a night” “Y-You’re right” and left in a hurry. Nick finally realized that the depressing mood around them was infesting the whole tavern.
“Sorry, I’ve been going on and on about my sad story. It’s so lame isn’t it?”
“““That’s not true!!!!”””
This time it was three that spoke at the same time.
“I mean I… I…! I was dumped by my fiancee! And as if that wasn’t enough, I was kicked out of my school and my home…!”
Screamed Tianna in anguish as she cried.
“Y-You were a noble…”
“I was chased away from home, so I can’t use my last name anymore. Now I’m just a commoner, just Tianna, so you don’t need to be overly polite or anything.”
And then, while crying, Tianna told all the hardships she had gone through, and how she fell from her position as a noble. Her fiancee, who she loved with all her heart, was taken away from her by an antagonistic noble named Linne. She had to choose between becoming a concubine of a lecherous, cruel noble, or giving up her status as a noble and leaving her home. After arriving in the Labyrinth city she couldn’t find a job, and got into gambling while she was searching.
Nick thought this sorcerer’s life was very tragic, even more so than his.
He felt strangely emotional thinking about how they wouldn’t be able to talk as equals like that if she didn’t fall from grace, and was filled with righteous indignation as he heard her story.
“No, it’s not your fault! That Linne is at fault too but what’s worse is that fiancee of yours! What a miserable guy, feeling jealous of his girl when she’s trying so hard!”
“That’s crossing the line!”
Nick, the dragon girl, and the priest were all indignant, and Tianna cried even more after hearing their responses.
“Tu… No one has ever said that to me… sniffle…”
Nick handed his handkerchief to Tianna, who then used it to loudly blow her nose.
Ah, you’re using it like that, thought Nick, though he didn’t say anything.
“Did you go through something painful too?”
The dragon girl hesitated with a complex look in her face. Her story was probably just as bad as Nick’s and Tianna’s.
“You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to…”
Nick tried to reassure her, but Tianna grabbed her hand.
“I can tell you went through something painful too.”
“Can you tell us your name and what happened to you?”
“My name is Karan… I-I was… Betrayed by my party…”
And then, the dragon warrior started telling her story in a faltering manner.
She was tricked by a man who used the fake name Karios, who left her in the lowest level of a labyrinth and stole the orb her parents had made just for her. Karan then started copying a man known as “single meal Fifth” and eating luxurious meals, which left her with no money.
“…It’s all because I was an idiot but… But…!”
“You should never trick someone like that anyway!”
Nick hit the table in anger.
“That’s right! That coward…!”
Tianna and the priest agreed.
“Uu… uuu…! I won’t forgive them…!”
Karan started crying like Tianna, ordered another ale and chugged it like it owed her money.
“Priest, do you have a story to tell too?”
Nick asked the priest, who laughed in a self-deprecating manner.
“Yes, well… It’s hard to talk about this with girls…”
“It’s fine. It’s too late to start caring about that.”
The priest peeked at Nick.
“Alright, if you say so.”
“First of all… My name is Sem, and I am a former priest. I was framed by a girl under my care in the temple.”
The priest, or rather, former priest, had a fierce story to tell. He was suddenly imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, and people he trusted threw rocks at him. The other three were speechless.
“Then I wandered about by myself and… how should I put this, indulged myself in carnal pleasures. It’s not like I was poor, but I couldn’t just keep hanging around hostess bars and I figured it was about time I started looking for work… It’s pitiful isn’t it?”
“Usually I would say yes but… I guess it couldn’t be helped?”
“Yes, I mean… After going through that terrible experience…”
“Yeah, cheer up.”
The other three started comforting Sem and cursing the ones that framed him, and slowly, the cloud hanging over Sem started dissipating.
Nick got up and raised his glass, to which Tianna, Karan, and Sem responded with an emphatic “Yes!”.
The drinks that weren’t even that good, strangely enough permeated throughout their entire bodies.