Ch. 26: Encountering after Accepting the Quest
“You chose quite the safe job, collecting herbs.”
After the one-sided scrap at the bar, Loren went to the quest board, chose a quest at random, and walked out, wanting to avoid the commotion.
The quest that he picked was “gathering herbs in a nearby forest”.
Since there weren’t any strong monsters living there, the difficulty was the lowest, and the guild bought the herbs at two copper coins apiece.
It seemed like selling resources and ingredients rather than a quest, but to the guild, which had adventurers getting injured all year long, the more they could get their hands on the better. This is why this quest was always on the quest board.
“There’s no monsters there so I don’t need to have a weapon.”
To Loren, who didn’t have a weapon, this quest was perfect for him, but when he thought about how cheap the herbs were, he didn’t feel like doing it.
The amount of money he needed to compensate for the chair, table, and the wall that broke when Loren punched the iron rank adventurer was four silver coins.
The wall costed three silver coins and the table and chair costed one, so now Loren’s total debt was fourteen silver coins and ten copper coins.
“You’re going to need seven hundred and fifty herbs to pay off your debt.”
“Don’t say something so discouraging. There’s no way there’s that many of them in this forest.”
The forest they were heading towards wasn’t that large.
That’s why there weren’t dangerous monsters, but there was no way such a small forest would have the number of herbs that Lapis pointed out.
It took an hour to get to the forest.
Loren wasn’t sure how it worked, but he did know that the day was split into twelve parts, and an hour was one out of the twelve. In large cities, the bell rang at every hour to tell the time.
As soon as they reached the forest an hour later, Loren walked in and started looking for herbs.
Herbs had helped Loren a lot back when he was a mercenary, so he knew a lot about them.
They had slightly pointed leaves and was hard to mistake for a different plant.
“This is so dull.”
Lapis, who was following Loren, stopped to pick a stalk.
She raised it up in front of her eyes and stared at it. She then threw it into the sack she was carrying.
“Why are you collecting herbs too?”
“I need to earn some money too. I won’t look good if I don’t have any money to lend you when you need it.”
Loren thought that she didn’t need to do such a dull quest, as she seemed to have enough money already to lend him some, and drooped his head with a limp expression.
He figured lending him money was the reason why Lapis, who had enough money for herself, was taking part in the quest.
“Anyways Loren, you’re missing quite a lot of them.”
“Ugh…I’m not good at these kinds of things.”
Loren had found quite a bit and put them into his sack, but he couldn’t help but overlook some.
Lapis was gathering the herbs that Loren missed, but the sizes of their sacks were roughly the same, showing Loren how much he was overlooking.
“If there was a battle or two going on, repaying you would be so much easier.”
Although Loren said that, if someone asked him if he wanted to go back to being a mercenary, he couldn’t say yes without hesitation.
He lived most of his life as a mercenary, but it wasn’t like he enjoyed killing people for a living.
He was sad that his group was destroyed, but now he started thinking of it as an opportunity to turn a clean slate.
“Even if there was a battle, you don’t have any equipment. Or do you want to try signing up as a soldier and get equipment that way?”
“That’s something I’d rather not do.”
In Loren’s eyes, the equipment given to ordinary people gathered by the recruiting office or who were drafted was miserable things.
Although the country readied funds to purchase good equipment for soldiers, but the money would pass through the hands of a few people, and the large sum of money would disappear.
Even though the funds get smaller, the amount of equipment they need doesn’t change.
Of course, the leftover funds reflect the quality of the equipment, and the soldiers were given spears that snapped after one jab, leather armor that would crumble just by wearing it, and other things that seemed like a joke.
This wasn’t known among ordinary soldiers, but the member who oversaw the group’s finances told Loren that this was why the soldiers they faced in battle were so weak.
“We’re really not finding much.”
After some time passed since they started gathering herbs, Loren and Lapis reached the far end of the forest.
Which meant they managed to cross the whole forest while gathering herbs.
Even after walking this distance, Loren’s sack that contained the herbs that he gathered was only half full.
The number of herbs that he managed to gather was around twenty.
“It can’t be helped. This quest is always open, so someone is always coming here to gather herbs.”
The sack of herbs that Lapis had was the same size as Loren’s.
There was enough time until sundown, but considering the time it’ll take them to get back to the city, they needed to start heading back now.
Loren didn’t want to risk sleeping outside without a weapon, and wanted to sleep in a bed if he could.
“I guess we should head back.”
“We’re at a slight loss, though.”
Loren gave Lapis a nervous look, but Lapis continued with a cool face.
“The inn that the guild recommends costs thirty copper coins a night. Food would cost between five to seven copper coins. If you decide to have a drink, a glass costs two copper coins. In total, a day’s living expenses range from forty-five to fifty-three copper coins.”
Loren gloomily did the calculations and figured out that the money he would get from the herbs wasn’t enough to cover all of that.
He had to face the reality that if this continued, there was no way he was going to be able to pay Lapis back.
“I would like to suggest making up your mind about borrowing money from me to get some good equipment.”
“I’m going to have to start thinking about that. Wait, how are other copper rank adventurers living? Don’t tell me…”
Loren thought that maybe they were covered in debt as well, and Lapis answered as she tied her sack tightly.
“They’re definitely head deep in debt. That’s why they try to get quest where they get paid a lot. If they succeed earn money, and if they fail they might die. The most solid route is raising your rank to iron and having a veteran party pick you up.”
“I guess this world is pretty rough…”
Loren started thinking that maybe mercenaries were more fortunate in terms of money.
There was no need to worry about money, and they even got small allowances.
They would give their equipment to whoever was in charge of them, it would come back before the next battle, all repaired and ready to go.
“I guess the commander and the guys in accounting didn’t have the easiest of times.”
“Although it differs from person to person, that’s how everyone is living.”
Even though she said with a teacher’s tone, it wasn’t going to increase the number of herbs in their sacks.
On the way back, Loren wondered if he should get a weapon, even if it meant increasing his debt, and try a better quest. But he felt something around them and silently threw his sack at Lapis.
“Are you saying that I should carry your stuff?”
“No. Be quiet for a second.”
Loren clasped his fists and silenced Lapis, who was about to complain.
Lapis realized that Loren felt something, held her tongue, and hugged the sack that Loren had thrown her in her chest along with her own.
“This way. Something’s here.”
Loren picked up a scent of beasts within the green smell of the forest.
He heard a low growl and stepped off the path in the direction which the sound came from.
“If something’s there shouldn’t we run?”
“That’s true, but I’ve got a bad feeling.”
Although Loren agreed that what Lapis said was reasonable, he followed his intuition and ran through the forest.
The bad feeling Loren felt soon became a reality in front of their eyes.
“Loren! A young girl is lying unconscious!”
They reached a small clearing, and lying in the middle was a young girl wearing a white dress, her blonde hair all over the place.
Lapis was focused on her, but Loren found the source of the scent of beasts hiding in the trees around them.
Lapis realized that they were surrounded as Loren warning rang out, and immediately said the name of the beasts.
The wolves lived in forests and weren’t that large, but they moved in packs and hunted in packs, which made them somewhat dangerous.
Alone, they weren’t that dangerous, but their danger level rose exponentially, and were the were the causes of death for a great number of adventurers in the forest.
“We’re going to save her! You have no objections, right?”
“I don’t, but Loren you don’t have a weapon!”
“This is enough to handle these dogs.”
Loren swung his fist lightly and charged.
The forest wolves saw Loren charge and some of them broke off the pack and rushed to intercept him.
One of the wolves jumped from tree to tree and lunged at Loren, but got hammered straight in the face with a fist.
It flew backwards, spinning, with a broken nose and teeth and crashed into a tree. While it died without a sound, another wolf got its neck crushed, thrown onto the ground, and its head crushed.
Another wolf tried to bite onto Loren’s boots but couldn’t bite through the thick leather, was grabbed and swung straight into a tree, and its back broke.
The last one, which tried to slip past Loren and attack Lapis, got its tail grabbed at the last second. It tried to bite Loren but was swung around and got its neck snapped.
All of this happened within a short moment and the forest wolves, which just lost four of their members, became wary of Loren.
“Can you eat them?”
“Their meat isn’t meant for eating, but their pelts are worth some money. Loren, do you know how to skin animals? I don’t know how.”
“We don’t have a knife either, so I guess we’ll have to give up on that.”
Both came to gather herbs, and didn’t have anything to help them carry four wolves.
Although he regretted not being able to take the wolves, but he knew there was no other choice since they had no way of bringing them back. Loren left the corpses on the ground and took a step forward. The rest of the forest wolves understood that they didn’t stand a chance and ran off.
Loren wasn’t one who liked chasing beasts that won’t attack, and continued to brace himself for a while longer, making sure that they didn’t come back. After he saw that they weren’t coming back, he relaxed and slowly walked back to the fallen girl.
The girl looked like she was around ten years old.
Loren thought maybe it was a trap, but couldn’t think of anyone who would want to set a trap for him using a young girl as bait, and couldn’t find anything of the sort nearby.
“I’ll keep guard, so can you check on her?”
“Yes, of course.”
They were dealing with a young girl.
Loren decided that Lapis, who was a girl as well, would be better suited to check on her. Lapis crouched next to the girl and checked her pulse, then checked her clothes and body.
Loren, watching her at the corner of his eye, looked around him.
Although the forest wolves backed off, there was still a chance that they would attack again.
“This girl sure is lucky.”
The girl, lying on the ground, had dirt and fallen leaves stuck in her hair.
Lapis seemed to feel sorry for her and started dusting off her face and body.
“Lucky? Even though she was about to get attacked by wolves?”
“Yes, because we found her before she could get eaten. Plus, while Loren was dealing with four of them, the others didn’t attack her. If you don’t call this luck, I don’t know what you would call it.”
“That’s…Since there’s people with bad luck, I guess there are people with good luck as well.”
“This world is made so well. By the way, do you have any idea of who the unlucky people are?”
Lapis lifted the unconscious girl and smiled at Loren.
Loren quickly averted his eyes from that smile.