Ch. 25: Increasing Debt
There was a rumor that a village was destroyed.
Loren, who was sitting in the bar inside the adventurer’s guild with a drink in front of him, thought that he had heard something like that before.
It wasn’t an uncommon thing to happen, and was something that would reach your ears if you stayed at the adventurer’s guild.
Spreading farmland was something any country or noble constantly worried about.
More farmland meant more harvest.
More harvest meant more products to sell, which meant more tax money, and that meant more money flowing into their pockets.
One or two villages disappearing didn’t stop them from trying to make more of them.
They may be frustrated, but would immediately stamp the paperwork to create another one, to get back the money they had lost.
In the end, it was all about money, and no one could run from the clutches of money.
Loren sighed as he thought about how he was one of those people, but heard a cheerful voice that seemed to chase away his gloomy thoughts.
“Huh? Loren, are you already having a drink?”
A black ponytail bouncing up and down.
A white robe worn by priests, who served the gods.
A girl, that eight, even nine out of ten people would look back and stare at if she passed them, opened the doors of the bar and found Loren, who was sitting in a corner, and called out to him.
“But Loren, do you have money to pay for it?”
The priestess that served the Knowledge god, who walked up to Loren’s table and talked to him, was Lapis.
Loren frowned at her question, remembering that he didn’t have any money.
Loren used to be a mercenary, but the group he was a part of was destroyed not too long ago. He had managed to survive and reach the city he was in right now, and became an adventurer to make a living.
On his first quest, not only did he lose the little money he had, as well as the great sword that he used since when he was a mercenary, he had let his power go berserk and was sent to the hospital from the recoil.
He thought that it wouldn’t take long for him to recover, because his injury wasn’t that severe, but apparently it took quite a toll on his body and the doctor told him to stay put for two more days.
The two days passed by quickly, and Loren was now out of the hospital, but he had made a promise to Lapis, that in exchange for her paying his hospital bills, he would have to partner up with her until he could pay off his debt.
To start off, Lapis had paid his hospital fees, which costed five silver coins.
Along with the ten copper coins she had lent him when paying for the carriage, the total was five silver coins and ten copper coins.
However, because the doctor told him to stay put for another two days, his debt sprung up to ten silver coins and ten copper coins.
“Well, I guess you’d want to drink some alcohol after all that time in the hospital.”
Without waiting for Loren to respond, she called a passing waitress and gave her four copper coins, and ordered a glass for herself.
“I would like to pay for him as well.”
The alcohol in Loren’s cup was the cheapest one they had, but even that costed two copper coins.
He had ordered alcohol by habit even though he had no money.
He buried his head in his hands at the fact that his debt just increased again.
Lapis took the glass that the waitress brought, held it with both hands, and started sipping it.
“You know it’s not good to drink alcohol on an empty stomach, right? Especially when you just recovered. Let’s order something to eat.”
“You know I don’t have any money, right?”
Loren immediately butted into his own words, asking himself why he had ordered alcohol, while Lapis took out a few copper coins from her pocket.
“I’ll be paying of course.”
“My debt’s just getting larger and larger.”
“Don’t worry about it so much. It’s not like I’m going to collect it from you every now and then. Plus, all you need to do is stay with me, so it’s not that bad either. Miss waitress, I’d like an egg sandwich with no mustard please. And a ham sandwich for him.”
Lapis stopped a nearby waitress and told her order, giving her ten copper coins for the food.
In the bar run by the adventurer’s guild, everyone had to pay when they ordered.
Since adventurers weren’t the most trustworthy, if they took the money after they finished eating, they would try to leave without paying or would act like they already paid.
Of course, there was almost no chance of getting away with it scot-free, but they did fight for a living, which could cause potential fights and injuries, and there were also adventurers whose jobs were thieves.
However, there were still a handful that managed to get away with it, so the guild had made the rule that forced you pay first.
Loren looked at the waitress, wondering why she gave him the alcohol even though he didn’t pay, and she gave him a smile that seemed like she understood his situation.
As he was feeling uncomfortable that he made her be considerate towards him, he asked Lapis what was on his mind.
“How much is a ham sandwich, anyway…”
“Five copper coins. It’s the same price as the egg sandwich, you know?”
Loren looked at Lapis, who was wondering if she should’ve ordered an egg sandwich instead, and sighed deeply.
“My debt just keeps increasing.”
“I guess we’re going to have to find some work. But Loren, you lost your weapon, right? What are you going to do about that?”
The great sword that Loren had used wasn’t something that would be sold at an ordinary shop.
It was as tall as him, including the grip, and its blade was thicker than Lapis’ waist. It was a big and heavy weapon that not many people could use, and there was no way something like that would be sold at any ordinary shop.
Loren couldn’t imagine how expensive it would be if he were to have one made as a special order.
He missed his sword, but regretting about past events was going to get him nowhere.
He looked towards the quest board, deciding that he needed some money first.
“A quest that I don’t need a weapon to do, huh…”
“You can’t go clean sewers. You’ll smell bad. Oh, I know a good deodorant that you could use. Do you want me to accommodate some? If you agree to that, I don’t mind you going in the sewers.”
Loren looked at her like she was planning something fishy, but Lapis’ eyes were dead serious as she responded.
“You said you’ll stay with me, right? Of course, I wouldn’t like it if Loren smelled like the sewers.”
Loren could understand her point, so he reluctantly crossed out cleaning sewers from the list of quests he could do from his head.
Lapis’ idea of using deodorant after going into the sewers wasn’t a bad one, but Loren couldn’t help but feel that the rewards of the quest would only be a fraction of what it would cost.
“Is there any other quest that I can accept without a weapon?”
As Lapis rested her cheek on her palm, the waitress came back with the food, and slipped the egg sandwich in front of her.
Then she proceeded to put the ham sandwich in front of Loren.
“Let’s eat first and then think about the difficult parts later.”
“I don’t think we’re talking about something that’s difficult though…”
Although Loren said that in a tired manner, the smell of the sandwiches tempted him to take one of them and pop the whole thing in his mouth.
Loren had spent his time in the hospital for the past few days.
He had to eat hospital food the whole time, and although it was good for his body, the taste wasn’t.
To Loren, who had lived off hospital food for four days, the taste of ham and mustard inside freshly baked bread tasted too good.
“Hey, look at that guy. He’s a bum.”
“Man, he’s only a copper rank but he’s having a girl buy him food. Wish we could get some leftovers.”
Loren heard the voices of two men drinking at a table that was near his.
On their chests were iron class identification tags.
The adventurers, who were a higher rank than Loren, were watching what was going on between him and Lapis, and decided to interrupt them.
He gave the situation a good thought, as he gulped down the sandwich and licked the mustard off his fingers.
He guessed that his current position was something others could jeer at.
But whether it could be overlooked or not was a whole different problem.
“Isn’t it better to just ignore them Loren?”
Lapis was holding her egg sandwich with both hands and was nibbling the corner of it.
She glanced towards the adventurers, who were laughing and making fun of Loren, with the corner of her eye, but quickly lost interest and went back to eating her sandwich.
“Not sure if you know, but in these cases, if you let them look down on you, they’ll keep on looking down on you.”
“Is that what all mercenaries think? I don’t really get it, but I don’t think they’re worth your time.”
She smacked her lips at the sandwich with thinly sliced boiled eggs seasoned with salt and pepper, and continued.
“Because people like them will never get a girl to buy them food.”
“The hell did you just say!”
They immediately reacted to Lapis’ venomous words and jumped up, kicking away their seats.
Loren stood up and walked towards the two, only stopping to put his hand on Lapis’ shoulder.
Lapis wasn’t even looking at them.
“Good job provoking them. I’ll go kill them really quick.”
“You can’t kill them, you know? It’ll be a crime. But leaving them ninety percent dead is okay, because it’s an unspoken agreement between adventurers. Also, you can’t take their belongings, okay? You’ll be arrested for theft.”
“Oh, and if you break the things in the store, you’ll have to compensate for it. Well, I’m going to pay for it so I don’t mind if you break a few things.”
“That’s a discouraging thought…”
The adventurers outnumbered him two to one, and on his chest, was a copper identification tag.
The two adventurers weren’t afraid of Loren at all, seeing that he was a lower ranking adventurer.
“Is this guy stupid? We’re iron rank, you know?”
“If you grovel on the ground and ask for forgiveness, we’ll just take the girl and leave you alone. She’s a priest, right? There’re many ways we can use her.”
“You’ve already had your fun with her, right? So why not let us…”
Loren felt that he would want kill the guy if he heard him finish what he was saying, so he punched him in the face, making sure to hold back quite a bit.
If Loren was a normal adventurer, the punch would have started the fight, but he was able to wield a heavy weapon that normal adventurers and mercenaries wouldn’t even be able to hold up, and swing it around like it was nothing.
Of course, being able to wield such a weapon, his strength wasn’t something that could fit within ordinary limits, even if he did hold back.
The adventurer, who was caught off guard, didn’t even last a second against the punch.
He flew backwards, in a spiral spin, and crashed into the wall of the bar, along with a set of a table and a chair.
“Oh…The table and the chair are going to cost quite a bit.”
Lapis was already standing next to Loren, who dropped his shoulders at not holding back enough.
He remembered that there was one more adventurer, but when he looked down, he saw him sprawled on the ground with a big bump on his head and eyes rolled back, with a piece of a chair next to his head.
“Geez, how can they say such a thing to a young maiden.”
Lapis said angrily as she tossed the rest of the chair on top of the unconscious adventurer.
As Loren wondered if he should point out that a maiden wouldn’t use a chair to knock an iron rank adventurer unconscious, he sighed when he saw Lapis hand money to the waitress, telling her it was for repairs.