Ch. 24: Promising after Waking
“Loren, you’re awake. I’m so glad.”
Loren woke up to Lapis peering into his face and something heavy pressing onto his stomach.
He raised his right hand and slapped it onto his forehead and pressed down.
He felt a soft bed under him and a clean blanket covering him.
The heaviness he was feeling was Lapis sitting on top of him, and when Lapis moved her face right up to his, he flicked her forehead quite hard.
“Don’t recklessly sit on top of a guy.”
Lapis leaned backwards, her hand on her forehead and tears in her eyes. She then gave
Loren look full of complaints and pointed around the room with her other hand.
“There’s nowhere to sit down other than here.”
Loren, still lying down, turn his head to look around.
It was an ordinary hospital room.
Other than his bed, there was a table and a shelf, but no chairs.
Strong sunlight and a gentle breeze was coming from the window, and the breeze was flapping the curtains on it slightly.
Loren decided that he must be in a hospital, and Lapis nodded.
“Yes, this is a hospital. Do you want to hear what happened after you passed out?”
Loren nodded without hesitation.
He remembered up until he had moved to destroy the control panel, but he had no idea what happened after and how he was alive.
“What’s the last thing you remember?”
“Up to when I threw my sword.”
Loren lost consciousness before he could see if he was able to destroy the control panel.
Since he wasn’t in the ruins or in the afterlife, he knew that he must have succeeded in destroying the control panel, and wanted to hear from someone who knew what happened after that.
“It looks like your consciousness and memory is fine. People who let their consciousness and power go out of control often have mental damage, but I’m glad that Loren’s berserk seems to be a harmless one.”
“There’s good ones and bad ones?”
“Of course. Anyway, about the events after Loren threw Loren’s great sword.”
Thanks to the pendant and the broken great sword Loren had thrown at the control panel, it stopped functioning completely.
Due to it shutting down, the commands for stopping the goblins and shutting down the ruins went through. The goblins stopped moving and the ruins stopped as well.
“No one’s going to be able to restart those ruins ever again.”
“Yes, because you completely destroyed the control panel. It can’t be fixed either because the pendant got rid of the magic circuits inside it as well.”
Lapis believed that in the era that they were currently in, destroying those ruins were a good thing.
It hadn’t mattered to the Ancient Kingdom, but with the level of magic culture of current society, it wouldn’t be able to hand such a ruin.
Even if people tried to use it for military purposes, the only orders the goblins would take would be ones related to the ruins, so all they would be able to do is let the goblins loose in an area and spread fear and confusion. If it was going to be used like that, it was better if no one could use it anymore.
“Ritz and his party were quite mad, though.”
“That’s not surprising. We made the ruins useless.”
Although they meant it as a joke, it was a fact that they said some grudging things.
Since they had messed up their quest, it wasn’t surprising that they said a thing or two at them, but Ritz and his party didn’t resent Loren at all.
But Lapis decided that she didn’t have to tell Loren that.
Ritz and his party did indeed gather lots of information on the ruins, but it didn’t matter anymore because the ruins were pretty much useless now.
They weren’t able to find treasure or anything else of great value, so the rewards for their quest didn’t add up too much. Adding up the expenses they used to get ready for the expedition and treating their injured members, they were at a loss.
But despite that, Loren still saved their lives, so they were all quite thankful to him.
Even though Loren was misunderstanding how Ritz and his party felt about him, Lapis had no intention on correcting it since she was not the cause of the misunderstanding in the first place.
“It’ll be troubling if I make weird connections, so.”
Lapis already knew what direction she was going to take this conversation. Although Ritz and his party were high ranking adventurers and were good people, getting friendly with them was slightly troublesome for her.
That’s why she was trying to make him think they didn’t like him too much.
“Did you say something?”
Lapis’ murmur hadn’t reached Loren’s ears.
Lapis decided that it was bad if something she let out carelessly and made Loren suspicious of her, so she forcefully continued the conversation.
“Although the expedition itself ended in a failure, they still did their work so they got a lot of the rewards, so I don’t think you have to worry so much.”
“But I still did something pretty bad though.”
At Loren’s apologetic tone, Lapis decided that it wasn’t good to keep talking about it, so she coughed and changed the subject.
“The guild is going to send an expedition team to the ruins and make sure it’s sealed properly. It can’t be used anymore so it shouldn’t need sealing, but I guess you can’t be too careful.”
If an official expedition was going to be conducted, they would search around the area as well, and that meant the girls in Sarfe’s party might be rescued.
Lapis realized the possibility but didn’t care at all.
Whether they get rescued or not, she wasn’t going to meet them ever again so it was a waste of time to think about them.
“Who carried me here? Where is this, anyway?”
“I did. I couldn’t let Ritz and the others carry you. Also, this is the hospital in Kauffa. They did offer to help, but they had their own injured to take care of.”
Loren and Lapis and Ritz’s party did get together within the ruins, but were originally separate parties. Since it was the norm for parties to take care of their own members, it would’ve been awkward if Lapis let them carry Loren.
“Looks like you helped me quite a bit.”
“No, no. Don’t worry about it. Speaking of failed quests, the quest for exterminating goblins that we took was considered a failure. Three members of the party hasn’t come back and we weren’t able to destroy the nest, and we don’t have any proof of hunting, so.”
The sack that contained the goblin ears was lost sometime during the fight.
Loren had to focus on fighting for his life so he couldn’t manage to keep track of it at the same time, and wondered where he dropped it.
As a result, they didn’t receive any sort of reward from the adventurer’s guild.
Loren sighed at his mistake.
“Sorry about that Lapis.”
Although Loren had lost the sack, Lapis could’ve harvested a lot from all the goblins that had stopped after the control panel broke.
The ones they killed were collected by the goblins but there were still a lot of goblins left in there.
But she didn’t do that because everyone knew that they weren’t out of danger just because the ruins shut down and Ritz suggested getting out of there as fast as they can.
Because of that she couldn’t collect anything afterwards.
“Don’t worry about it. Oh, and I’ve already taken the carriage fee that it took to get back here from your wallet, but the treatment fees and the hospital fees that were added are a different story.”
Loren felt gloomy after hearing those words and didn’t want to get up anymore, so he relaxed his body and kept lying down.
The sole reason he accepted the quest was because he had no money, but he lost the sack with the proof of hunting, and above that, he had other fees he had to pay.
The carriage fee that Lapis took from his wallet was money she had lent him as well.
When he heard Lapis say that she added the treatment fees and hospital fees, he looked at Lapis.
“I’ll pay for them for you, so don’t worry.”
Lapis understood what Loren was thinking and answered.
“How long was I out?”
“Around three days. We took a day coming back so you’ve been here for two days, and the hospital bills will cost five silver coins.”
Loren sighed as he learned that it was a cost that he couldn’t pay, while Lapis smiled and moved her face closer to Loren’s and whispered.
“You don’t have to worry so much. I’m lending you the money, but I’m not going to ask for any interest.”
“I can’t pay it even if you did.”
“I won’t remind you either. And you can pay in installments as well.”
In fact, Lapis was the only one who had a profit from the quest, but she was keeping it a secret from Loren.
It was because while she was looking for the manual for the ruins, she slipped things that looked valuable in her pockets.
Even a thief like Jack couldn’t notice her doing it, thus she was the only one who made it out with valuables in her hand.
All the things she found were accessories with magic spells on them, and decided that the person who oversaw the facility was a woman.
Also, she guessed that the << Mana Lost >> pendant that the goblin mage had was from the control room. She speculated that it took the pendant and left the ruins and eventually evolved into a goblin mage.
There was no way for her to check if it was correct, though.
“Aren’t the conditions a too good?”
“Instead, please stay with me for a while.”
She fired herself up as she got to the main point.
What Lapis was aiming for was Loren himself.
Loren was quite experienced and trustworthy, and he didn’t change his attitude towards her even when she told him that she was demon kind, which were hated by most people.
A person like that was already hard to find.
Not only that, Lapis left her home to learn about the world and she was disguised as a priest, but even though she was a powerful demon kind, there was a limit to what she could do alone.
But if she partnered up with a swordsman, they would be able to work as a party, and when she would need to partner up with a random party, it would cause less trouble for her.
That was how hard it was for a priestess to move on her own.
People would keep coming to her with ulterior motives, and even if she could get into a good party, they may not let her leave even if she wanted to.
“I don’t think it’s a bad trade. What do you think?”
Lapis wasn’t comfortable with using money to bound Loren with her, but she didn’t want to lose him so she was willing to turn a blind eye.
Even when she put herself in Loren’s shoes, she could see the merits of moving with a priest.
A swordsman would benefit a lot from a priest who could heal injuries instantly.
“W-what do you think?”
Loren wasn’t responding.
Lapis was worried that she might have made him angry, so she asked him again nervously. He looked past Lapis and at the ceiling, exhausted, and replied.
“I’m in no state to refuse.”
“So, does that mean you accept?”
“Promise me. It’s until I pay off my debt.”
“Yes, that’s fine. I’ll be in your care Loren.”
Lapis’ face lit up brightly.
As he watched her smile from beneath her wondering when she would get off him, he wondered how he was going to pay her back.
But Loren had no idea.
Beneath her bright smile, Lapis was thinking of ways she could increase Loren’s debt so she could keep him at her side.
This is how a broke mercenary started walking down the path of an adventurer.