“And we’re done sharing what we got for the materials. Good job everyone.”
“Yes, good job.”
Survivors returned to the guild in the Labyrinth City to have the materials they picked assessed and traded in, and distributed the rewards among themselves. They were all tasting sweet success, as their valuation increased after they easily conquered the Wood Men Fighting Forest, and their rewards were excellent as well.
Adventuring in the wild lands was fun, but the crude pleasures of the city were hard to ignore.
“Well then, I’ll be going.”
“Ou, don’t go too crazy.”
“Same to you.”
Sem responded back to Nick. Everyone’s smiles turned to laughter.
Sem started walking towards the business district as he waved his hand.
He felt fulfilled. His partners both shared their pain and encouraged each other.
Sem respected his partners, and they felt the same way about him.
Compared to his current life, the temple seemed like a cold and lonely place.
He had a master he respected and looked up to, but that person left the temple to go out on a journey.
Everyone that left the temple did so because they were tired of power struggles. Sem thought they were all upright and clean-handed, but realized that was not necessarily the case. People were not strong enough to lead an austere life-style if they lost sight of the value of faith. They were only human after all.
Still, while Sem’s respect for other dropouts was slim, he still felt sympathy, and prayed that these people that he would never see again, found the happiness they were looking for.
Conversely, there were people that respected him, but he did not want to think about it.
The people that were charitable to him when he was in distress were not in the temple.
Sem did not train or perform healing magic looking for charity or thanks, and he understood how they felt.
If someone was strong enough to defy authority, there was no way they would be living in a town adjacent to a temple. That was their way of life, and the rational part of his brain told him there was no point in criticizing it.
But he had one question.
Did protecting those beliefs so fiercely really mean saving more people?
“Ooh, mister priest, can ya help me?”
As Sem walked, someone suddenly called out to him.
He looked where the voice came from, and found a seductive looking woman leaning against a wall. She had a bruise on her forehead.
“I’m not a priest. How may I help you?”
“A thug hit me last night… Have some mercy…”
“Healing a blow will be two thousand dinar.”
“You’re always drinking in that pub and putting it on a tab don’t you… Did you pay them back?”
She was a known drunk around that area.
She was a bodyguard and was an adventurer, and she had a very bad reputation for her interest in men and alcohol. She had been hired by a bar, but she would hit customers she didn’t like and drink the bar’s alcohol.
She had to quit being an adventurer after suffering an injury in her leg, but never had a proper job. She was in this situation due to her talent for fighting and rough disposition.
“That doesn’t matter, this is an honorable injury! I got it from fightin someone kidnappin people at night!”
And she had been lying a lot recently, and bothering the bar’s employees.
Sem sighed and tried to leave, but someone stepped in front of him with their arms wide open.
Sem felt a cold sweat. It was the thing he feared the most in the entire world.
It was a girl that seemed about thirteen years of age.
“I have money, so please help my mom!”
“S-stop… Don’t stand in front of me!”
“Please do something! I beg you!”
“Alright alright! Don’t get closer!”
As the pleading girl approached him, Sem shooed her away while casting a spell.
“Ou… Sorry bout that.”
The woman grinned, finding it funny to see Sem cornered by a little girl.
“By the way, I don’t need that girl’s money.”
Sem stared at the drunkard while avoiding the little girl.
“It’s your debt, so you pay it back to me.”
“Ya worry too much bout those small details priest… I’ll pay it eventually if I’m alive.”
The woman laughed with no ill will, and next to her, the little girl looked awkward.
Sem entered the hostess bar Spirit of Spring while sighing.
“What’s wrong Sem? You’re not usually in a bad mood like that.”
“Oops, sorry. Alcohol is meant to be drank while having fun.”
“It’s fine, like, you don’t have to force yourself to smile or anything. I’ll listen to your problems too.”
Said his acquaintance, Melissa, as she poured him a drink.
“It’s something that happened on the way here…”
Sem told Melissa what happened.
“Ah, that was Ada…”
Said an exasperated Melissa as she placed her hand on her forehead.
“You know her?”
“Well, yes… Back when she was doing well, she’d buy me drinks and chase away rough guys, and stuff… But she’s been like that ever since she had to quit being an adventurer. Apparently her daughter, Reina, has a lot of trouble taking care of her.”
“I wish she would keep it together but… Lately she’s been saying lots of weird stuff.”
“Yes, she said something to me about fighting a kidnapper.”
Said Sem, and Melissa let out a big sigh.
“Ahh… But no one’s actually seen that person she’s talking about. I’m sure she just fell because she was drunk or something. It can’t get more miserable than this.”
Sem noticed something strange.
Ada’s wound was without a doubt real. It had the internal bleeding and abrasion of a blow.
Sem could most certainly tell the difference between a wound from a fall and one from a blow.
“What is it Sem?”
Could it be that Ada was telling the truth?
Sem kept that thought in the back of his mind as he enjoyed drinking.
Sem had a strong tolerance for alcohol.
He didn’t slur his speech or stagger, and he was always very careful on his way home.
He would avoid poorly lit places and spots where suspicious people were known to hide, but being drunk still dulled his body.
The depressions in his usual path made it hard to walk, so he took a different route through a back alley.
“…Did I hear a sword?”
An ominous sound of metal alongside people’s footsteps reached Sem’s ears.
He braced himself, but no one was there.
Sem put a sobering medicinal herb called Wood Man Flower in his mouth and bit down.
It was a flower that bloomed on Wood Men, and could break bewitching spells and had a calming effect.
There were a lot of poisonous monsters in forests, such as butterflies with poisonous scales or flowers with bewitching pollen.
Wood Men had resistance towards such poisons and bewitchments, and continued to improve their fighting skills unaffected by such things.
The flowers that sometimes bloomed on their bodies had the same effect on humans if consumed by them. They were a little expensive for a sobering item, but its safety was guaranteed.
“Alright then… Eh!? Ada’s daughter…!?”
As soon as Sem put the flower in his mouth, he saw a black clad man carrying a little girl.
It was without a doubt a kidnapping.
“Y-you can see me!? Dammit…!”
The man attacked Sem, but he instinctively cast buffing magic on himself and got ready to fight back.
Sem was a former priest and a healer, but he wasn’t weak and incapable of fighting.
He stayed in the back row when himself and his party explored labyrinths, but he had at least fought goblins.
And now, he had also been taught simple self defense techniques by Nick, and used the palm heel technique he just happened to learn recently.
“Gaha. Damn you…!”
The girl noticed them fighting, and yelled, but Sem could not afford to respond.
It seemed the man was a swordsman, and Sem, who had only recently learned a couple of self defense techniques very quickly, was completely on the defense.
Sem managed to pick up a club and avoid being cut, but even the buffs could not make up for the different weapons.
“I was scared for a second, but it looks like you’re all show… Sorry, but die.”
“Out of the way!”
A woman’s roar was heard, and Sem instinctively got down.
The thrown knife pierced the man’s arm.
“Are you… Ada!?”
“Ahh… I made it on time…!”
Sem turned around, and saw the drunk he had met earlier in the day, Ada.
“Eh, so I wasn’t lyin uh? This city is my…”
The man rushed towards Ada with the knife still in his arm.
“Dammit, to mess up in a place like this…! At least you…!”
Ada had a bad leg. She could use throwing weapons at a distance, and brawl in narrow places, but she was at a disadvantage when fighting in an open area.
The man cut at Ada and sent her flying, and she rolled on the floor while bleeding.
“Damn, just die already… You’re next.”
The sword was pointed at Sem, who thought he had no choice but to resign himself to his fate.
But just as he was thinking that…
With a strange shriek, an unknown individual, holding a sword jumped in and tackled the man like a bullet.
Both were sent flying through the road until crashing into an empty barrel.
“W-who are you people…!? How can you see me while using Transparency!?”
Bond groaned, “Ouch… I do not think I can answer that.”
The man clad in black saw his situation growing increasingly disadvantageous and ran away with incredible speed, jumping on top of a roof.
“I don’t think we can catch him… Are you alright Sem?”
“Yes Nick! Thank you…!”
Sem stopped himself mid sentence and his expression became puzzled.
“…Hum, Nick? Why are you dressed like that?”
Nick was wearing a blue hanten and holding a fluorescent light.
“Bond said you were in trouble, so I came straight from a live event!”
Nick looked around and saw Sem, Ada, the girl that was almost kidnapped, and Bond who was in a broken barrel.
“…What happened here?”
“I have no idea.”