Ch. 61: Arriving After Minding Their Business
Loren’s worries became a reality.
They had found the stairs to the fourth and fifth floor without encountering any monsters, the reason still unknown.
“This is crazy.”
It wasn’t surprising that those words escaped Loren’s mouth.
After all, the exam was about exploring the dungeon, but it had only taken them half a day, according to Loren’s senses, to reach the fifth floor, which was the passing line.
It wouldn’t be surprising if it would take much longer, and the speed that they were going through was unnatural.
But that was something that couldn’t be helped.
After all, they didn’t encounter any monsters, and on top of that Ain’s party didn’t come across any traps either.
That meant they had been able to walk all the way down to the fifth floor, which of course wouldn’t take them long at all.
Loren then asked Lapis, who was holding the map.
“Hey…are these guys lost?”
“Good point you’ve realized there Loren.”
Lapis had been looking at the map, making sure that it wasn’t visible to Ain and the others, and made a remark as if she was a detective talking to her assistant.
“There’s something wrong with them. They sometimes go in roundabout routes, but most of them had been the shortest routes possible. It’s as if they know which path to take.
After being told that, Loren looked at the party in front of them.
The one that was drawing their map was the magician Feim.
But the one who was deciding where the group went was Ain, who was the leader of the party, and he sometimes discussed it with Al.
“This map marks the locations of traps as well…and they should have been caught by a few of them already.”
“They didn’t activate?”
There were only two reasons for the traps not activating that Loren could think of.
The first was the trap not activating.
The other was someone disabling the trap before Ain and his party had reached it.
If it was the first one, it meant that there was something wrong with the dungeon, and if it was the second one it was most likely Parme’s party that did so, but if it wasn’t, they would have to put into consideration a third party.
“Doesn’t seem like we need to worry about the light one.”
“I agree. He doesn’t seem like the type to scheme things.”
The remaining three were all suspicious.
They couldn’t tell if they were scheming something or cheating yet at this point, but one of them possibly possessed information regarding the map of the dungeon that only the proctors were supposed to have.
“Is the exam finished once you reach the fifth floor?”
“No, it officially ends once you find the stairs to the sixth floor. Choosing to go on further is up to the examinees.”
“I see. Hey you guys.”
Loren called out to Ain and the others.
His action wasn’t something to be proud of as a proctor, but to Loren it was something that had to be done, and he was going to have Lapis turn a blind eye as well.
Ain suspiciously replied.
He was well built, and his crew cut gave him a rugged impression, but his fighting style showed that he wasn’t aggressive, and Loren guessed that he had more of a defensive way of thinking and acting.
Loren started making his point.
“The exam ends once you find the stairs to the sixth floor, right?”
“Well, yeah. Basically.”
“Then can you guys withdraw from the exam here?”
Ain became speechless with surprise on his face at Loren’s sudden proposal, but in his stead, Cloud walked closer to Loren and butted in.
“Hey, what the hell are you…”
“You guys started realizing it too, haven’t you? It’s an exam but you only ran into monsters once. It’s also weird that you haven’t been caught by a trap either.”
At Loren’s words, Cloud lost his momentum, and Ain looked away from him.
It seemed that although they thought that it didn’t hurt to have an easy exam, they had realized that something was wrong, and were wondering if passing the exam like this would mean anything to them.
If so, Loren thought he could still expect something from them, but Al suddenly joined in.
“That doesn’t make any sense. This exam was prepared by the school. If there was some trouble, the school would have cancelled the exam before it even started.”
“T-that’s right! It’s not cancelled, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about!”
Cloud found his momentum again and started shouting again, and Loren scratched his head.
“I wasn’t talking about embarrassment. There are troubles you could find before, and there are some that you can’t. Don’t you think that the dungeon malfunctioning during the exam is unnatural?”
“It could’ve been adjusted like this!”
Loren couldn’t understand why anyone would lower the difficulty of the dungeon for an exam.
The school might be able to do so, since it managed the dungeon, but if the school was doing so, they would be a corpse maker, not a training school.
“It’s an exam for students who are going to become adventurers. Why would they want to lower the difficulty?”
Cloud was at a loss for words, but a helping hand was offered to him.
“It might be the school trying to help students gain confidence by clearing the dungeon.”
“T-that’s right! That’s another possibility…”
“Let’s say that possibility exists. Then the teachers of this school are god forsaken idiots, you know?”
Helping someone succeed at something was indeed a method to boost confidence.
Loren knew that, and he had seen it been done many times when he was a mercenary.
The experienced mercenaries would plan it to give the new recruits confidence and courage, but he remembered that it was quite a difficult thing.
Because it didn’t have any meaning if the new recruits found out about it.
Not letting them find out about it, as well as making sure that the plan worked, was what made it so difficult, and it wasn’t something that could be done by lukewarm adjustments. Like their current situation, if the students knew that the difficulty was lowered, it didn’t have any meaning whatsoever.
“Then what to do you want us to do!?”
“I told you. How about heading back to the school and reporting it to the principal and the teachers. You might have to redo the exam, but it should be better than passing it like this.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me! You’re telling us to fail it, after coming all this way!?”
“I’m not joking, I’m being serious. And if you want to talk about passing or failing, in my eyes you guys are a bunch of failures. Even if you become adventurers, you’ll be lying under the dirt within a year.”
“But that’s just your opinion, isn’t it?”
Al stepped in yet again as Cloud couldn’t find anything to say.
“Only the gods know the future. As someone that isn’t even close to being a god, I don’t think you could see what our futures are.”
“I think I could make a prediction, can’t I?”
“Predictions could be wrong, can’t they?”
“Do you think it would be wrong?”
“I don’t think anyone here asked you for advice, am I wrong?”
Since the examinee pointed out that he was going outside the boundaries of a proctor, there was nothing more Loren could say.
If things went wrong, they could report that he got in the way of the exam, and he could get penalized.
Loren had tried to look out for them, giving them advice even though they didn’t ask for it, but he wasn’t willing to take it that far, and although Feim had a trouble look on her face, Cloud and Ain seemed to agree with Al, so he decided that there was nothing more he could do.
“Alright, my bad. I tend to stick my neck into other people’s business.”
As Loren showed signs of backing off, the party went back to moving forward with Ain looking worried, Cloud with a grim look, and Al immediately losing interest in Loren.
As Loren slowly walked after them, Lapis walked up and said to him.
“Good try Loren.”
“Sorry about that. It’s my fault if our job evaluation goes down.”
“It’s fine. I’m getting a vague feeling that this job will end in failure again anyway.”
Loren’s face darkened at the words, failure again.
Loren’s success rate after he became an adventurer was very low, in fact, the only job he succeeded in was picking herbs, and he had failed everything after that.
If he failed one again, he wouldn’t be able to make any money, his reputation would keep going down, and the rumor that he was leeching off Lapis would gain authenticity.
“I shouldn’t be worrying about others right now.”
Loren let out a mocking laugh, while Shayna said words of encouragement in his head.
“It’s not Loren’s fault that the jobs are ending in failures though.”
“That might be true, but results are everything, after all. There’s no excuse as long as it’s considered a failure.”
As Lapis saw Loren droop his shoulders, she wondered if he was the one who needed a boost in confidence by success, but for some reason whenever Loren took a job, even ones that seemed easy brought upon situations that made them become exponentially difficult.
If they accepted an easy quest, he would notice what she was trying to do, and if by any chance, that job became difficult and ended in failure, it would end up with Loren losing confidence even further.
Lapis glanced at Loren, who was walking next to her, and continued thinking.
She guessed that maybe instead of trying to get an easy job, pick a random one, and if it ended in failure, she would find a reason to convince him that it wasn’t his fault, and comfort him that way.
“I think your reputation at the guild is rising, though. I write up reports every time, and they are always surprised that we manage to survive.”
“That doesn’t make me feel any better…It’s either being stubborn about living or having bad luck.”
“If I say that those count as skill, the children would say that not encountering monsters count as luck, won’t they.”
“If this crappy luck of choosing jobs that end in failure is skill as well, then I’m…”
“Ah, let’s stop this Loren. This is going to become an endless loop of negative thoughts.”
Lapis stopped Loren from thinking any further with a straight face but filled with panic inside.
She thought he would start thinking positively if she talked about positive things, but she didn’t expect his mind to go towards the opposite vector.
Once his thoughts went in that direction, anything she said would be taken negatively, and would be difficult to follow up.
“Anyways, about our current problem. Do you think they would head back after finding the stairs to the sixth floor?”
“Definitely not. They said something about going down all the way, too.”
“Then do you think the sixth floor will not have any monsters as well, like the past few floors?”
That was a question Loren couldn’t answer.
From what he had seen from the floors above, it wouldn’t be surprising if the floors below would be the same, but there was one thing that caught his mind.
“I don’t know, but there’s probably a reason why the passing line is the fifth floor, and they don’t require going down any further.”
“Yes, oh. We’re almost at the stairs leading down. Let’s see what their reactions are.”
Loren thought that was a quite spiteful way of looking at things.
Ain the others let out a resounding shout of joy as they found the stairs that lead down to the sixth floor.
Hey guys Kaoto here.
I wish that once I start working on translating, I could focus on it, instead of getting distracted by literally everything.
If I could just keep at it for 1000 words, it wouldn’t be taking me this long to do this.
Once I’m able to focus, it really doesn’t take me too long, but it’s so hard to…
I’m more of a guy who likes to read words on paper, but it’s quite expensive to get light novels shipped over, so I’ve been thinking maybe I should just use Book Walker or something like that.
So many things I want to read, but it’ll take a big toll on my wallet…
Hope you enjoy and I’ll see you guys in the next chapter!