Chapter 5 – Clearing a Quest
Hikaru studied the bulletin board. Papers imbued with special magic were posted on it — numerous requests sent to the guild. Incidentally, “requests” were also called “quests”; which term was used depended on the type of job.
Gather Glimmering Poisonous Plants …. Beginners allowed. Bring as many glimmering poisonous plants as possible.
Reward: Standard Reward 200 Gilans
Quests that require fighting would be difficult for me right now. My priority at the moment is to get used to this world. A safe delivery quest fits the bill just fine.
He took the request form and moved his guild card close to it. The piece of paper gleamed before vanishing into thin air.
「Incredible. It doesn’t matter if scientific technology hasn’t developed in this world. With advanced magical technology, nature can be preserved. Plus it’s user friendly.」
Hikaru entered the reference room. On the walls were samples of medicinal plants and ores that frequently showed up in quests. A map of the nearby vicinity with marks on where to gather materials was on the center of the room.
「…Smells like mold in here.」
It seemed as though people didn’t enter the room often. I guess there are no diligent adventurers around. Hikaru learned everything he needed to know about the glimmering poisonous plants.
He took one of the many bags used for delivery quests that were piled on a corner of the guild. All right, time to go…
Working behind the counter, Jill saw Hikaru’s name pop up automatically on the “Request Taker” field.
She surveyed the guild but didn’t see him. More accurately, she couldn’t because he was using Stealth.
「So that cheeky brat took this quest…」
Jill grinned broadly. Hikaru had no idea that the request for glimmering poisonous plants mostly involved bringing the items one already had in their possession. The reason for that was Green Wolves – vicious monsters – lived in the area where the plants grew. On top of that, they formed packs so even veteran adventurers found it difficult to get rid of them. Going there personally to gather the plants was simply not worth the risk and effort.
「Maybe this will scare him enough to make him give up being an adventurer.」
Green Wolves attack humans but don’t eat them. As such, there weren’t a lot of fatalities. It was just the right test to baptize beginner adventurers.
Just as Hikaru was about to leave the guild, he remembered something.
「Oh, right. Those adventurers could be waiting for me.」
He double-checked if his Stealth was on. This is a good opportunity. It was the chance to find out just how effective his Skill was.
Walking slowly so his footsteps didn’t make a sound, Hikaru left the guild.
The main street. Right beside the guild’s exit stood two of the adventurers from before.
「Man, that brat’s not coming out…」
「Maybe some other guys taught him a lesson already.」
They roared with crude laughter. Hikaru was close – about three meters away – but they didn’t notice him at all.
「…I got myself an incredible Skill, I think.」
Hikaru strolled on ahead. In the end, the adventurers failed to realize he was there.
「Skill Trees in games usually don’t have this much effect… Perhaps this Skill is different.」
Maybe you gain its maximum effect by maxing it out. In that case, Skills under Stealth have incredible potential. No, even those under Vitality and Magical Power should be plenty awesome.
「Nothing I can do about the 1 point per year system though…」
Hikaru headed outside the down. He was starving, yet he had no choice but to complete the request to earn money. Walls surrounded the town to prevent monsters and burglars from getting in.
Houses stood outside the walls though its residents were always at risk. They didn’t have to pay for the land so penniless farmers lived outside and did agriculture. A guard stood at the gate, asking for IDs from people who went in and out of town. Hikaru presented his guild card and the guard let him through with a nod.
「An adventurer apprentice? Don’t do anything rash. As long as you’re alive, things will all work out.」
「I won’t.」Hikaru said, bowing his head.
It felt like the first time in this world someone said kind words to him. The guard’s eyes widened in surprise, not expecting such sincerity from a young man.
「Be sure to be back by sundown.」the guard said with a gentle smile.
After a bit of walking on the road, Hikaru turned to a forest on the left.
「Hmm… Jill mentioned that the guild card will boost my abilities.」
It was possible to change your class anytime apparently. It’s best to have my abilities boosted while I’m outside town.
「If I can only get one Skill point per year, I have to make the best use of these classes.」
Hikaru specialized in Stealth.【Stealth God: Darkness Wanderer】would be perfect here.
「Let’s go with this!」
And with a click, his job class changed.
It felt like his body was getting thinner like air. He could see his hands and feet clearly, though.
If someone nearby saw Hikaru, they would’ve lost sight of him as soon as he used his guild card unless they paid strict attention.
Hikaru activated his Life and Mana Obfuscation and Imperceptibility as well. With that, every living thing in the vicinity couldn’t sense him anymore. The birds and insects that stopped crying in the presence of a human, started singing once more.
It felt like he was invisible. Hikaru sauntered into the woods. Being raised in Tokyo, he was unfamiliar with forests. He couldn’t go camping so he simply watched outdoor camping videos on video-sharing sites.
Trees and bushes green and thriving, sunlight filtering through the leaves, the sweet sound of birds chirping… He couldn’t believe he had set foot in a forest. And unlike the ones in Japan, this one had barely been touched by humans.
Elated, Hikaru strolled onward, but then he caught a glimpse of a wolf in the distance, its color green. That must be a Green Wolf. It looked like it donned grass and moss rather than being “green”.
「It’s huge… but it doesn’t seem to have noticed me.」
Its body was about three meters long. Hikaru continued on, sneakily, so he didn’t draw the monster’s attention.
Roland had barely any knowledge about monsters. As such, it was understandable that Hikaru would misunderstand. The Green Wolf can detect something within a 200-meter radius and Hikaru was inside it. In fact, it had sensed Hikaru for a while until he arrived just outside the forest. The monster made it all the way here and was now confused as Hikaru’s presence suddenly vanished.
「I should find out more about monsters too.」
There should be information somewhere about a vicious monster that close to town.
「Oh, there’s the plant.」
Hikaru sauntered through the woods, searching for glimmering poisonous plants in a leisurely manner. They were shaped like lilies, their flowers of four different colors. Finding them at night was easy as they would glow, but staying till dark in the forest was terrifying.
「I need the buds and the petals.」
One by one, he plucked off the parts he needed with his nails, making sure to leave the roots. That way, they would grow again.
「Thank you, outdoor videos, for being useful in another world!」
Evening. The Adventurers Guild.
Jill sat behind the counter, irritated. Her shift was supposed to be from morning until noon, but she had to work overtime until dusk as her colleague couldn’t come. She was in a sour mood. But that wasn’t all.
She expected the boy who left in the morning to be on a stretcher after getting bit by a Green Wolf. And yet, she didn’t receive any news like that at all. The adventurers’ guild reception desk was a place where all sorts of information passed through. There was no way any info about the boy would slip by her.
Maybe he didn’t go to collect poisonous plants. It sounds the most plausible reason. In the first place, a Green Wolf wouldn’t miss a beginner adventurer. Definitely not one going solo. So he failed the request. All male adventurers are like that.
Jill had a secret. One of her older ancestors was a mythical fox spirit. Having inherited a bit of the blood, she could sense others’ ulterior motives. Endowed with good looks, men full of ulterior motives swarmed her. At the young age of eighteen, she was already looking ahead in the long term. She had concluded that men were there to be used.
So what Jill looked for in men was their status. Status meant their wealth, social standing, and their strength. Since men were only after her for her looks, then she in turn would only look at their status.
「He can’t be dead, can he?」
She raised her head. His death would weigh heavy on her conscience. Too heavy. Not only that, she’d feel responsible. A receptionist failed to provide adequate information resulting to an adventurer’s death. If that happens…
Concern sprang up within her heart. A Green Wolf wouldn’t go as far as kill humans. But what if there were other monsters? Or perhaps bandits?
「Oh, no… What if he’s dead? Would it be my fault? For real? That sounds really bad.」
「Should I send someone to investigate? But what would I tell him?」
「Hey, are you listening?」
The usual flock of men weren’t around this time. They were well aware that Jill was in her foulest mood. As such, the boy walked up all the way to her.
He’s here. The boy from this morning, right in front of me.
Wait, he’s here? Jill’s head was in turmoil. I see. He’s safe, so that means…
「I bet you ignored the request and just wandered around! You have the nerve to show your face around here!」
Jill’s voice rang throughout the guild. Hearing her, the other adventurers started whispering to each other.
「Ignored a request?」「Who’s the brat?」「Oh, Jill’s pissed.」
「What are you saying?」
「Being an adventurer is not a game! People like you ruin the reputation of the Adventurers Guild!」
「I get it. It’s not a game. So start checking already.」
「Check what? I know you picked a request—」
Jill went silent, her gaze going to Hikaru’s feet. A filled bag lay on the floor, glimmering poisonous plants sticking out of it.
She couldn’t believe her eyes. Collect poisonous plants… the request the boy took.
「You went to collect those?」
「What about the Green Wolf?」
「There was one. Actually you should’ve told me about the danger.」
「Th-There was one?! You should’ve been attacked—」
She swallowed the rest of what she was about to say. Not giving him a warning despite having the knowledge of the risks would be a blunder on the guild’s part.
So instead, Jill formed the words in her head. So the Green Wolf was close enough for Hikaru to see, but it didn’t approach him. The monster should’ve lunged at a human long before they could get that close. He was probably just lucky.
「Are these all glimmering poisonous plants?」
Hikaru nodded, placing the bag on the counter. Jill’s eyes widened once more. With the bag full, she thought he pulled the plants root and all. But she was wrong. He only plucked the petals and buds.
「How deep did you go… No, were you in the forest the whole day?」
「Please check them quick. I’m dying from hunger.」
「Oh, I’m sorry.」
Jill’s head was still in a state of chaos. But she was certain. Fear of the Green Wolf gripping him and starving, Hikaru searched the forest for glimmering poisonous plants. She felt sorry for him.
She couldn’t be farther from the truth, though. Hikaru gathered the plants without a care in the world. He even took an afternoon nap.
「I’ll assess the items right away.」
Jill finished the assessment in a hurry.
「I’m done computing. The basic reward for the delivery of glimmering poisonous plants is 200 gilans.」
Gilan was this kingdom’s currency.
「Phew… I can fill my stomach for a while.」
Seeing Hikaru feeling relieved, Jill realized something. He said he was starving. He must be penniless. For food carts, the cheaper meals cost 20 gilans while the expensive ones cost 40 gilans. Hikaru could have ten cheap meals.
She finally saw Hikaru as someone of his age. Jill’s mood turned pleasant. It was all just her misunderstanding things, though.
「The 200 gilans is for the basic reward.」
「So I get more for the plants?」
「Correct. Come on, stop guessing things right. You’re no fun.」
Hikaru shrugged. He’s a cheeky brat, all right, she thought.
「Here’s the result of the assessment. The amount of plants you gathered totalled 19 bundles. It’s 1,000 gilans per bundle for a total of 19,000 gilans. And as an incentive for gathering this many – well, I’m basically just rounding things up – you get a total of 20,000 gilans, basic reward included.」
「Why are you getting flustered?」
「I’m not flustered.」
He ended up replying the same way he did when he got the guild card.
「With this many, I think there won’t be requests for glimmering poisonous plants anytime soon. But if there’s one, we’ll be counting on you. I hope to see great things, Mr. Hope.」
「…You’re giving me too much credit.」
Hikaru’s expression quickly turned sour as he took the money.
「Oh, right. I actually have a few questions.」
Hikaru threw questions at Jill while she answered them.
For convenience, Hikaru asked for gold, silver, and copper coins. He shoved the bag with the reward money deep inside his clothes. Spare change lined up his pockets.
Hehehe… He felt his cheeks loosen. Hikaru actually liked working to earn money. When he was in Japan, he made an account to participate in online stock trading. It felt like he was fighting in the grown-up world. His parents, though, were worried about their son who never made friends and stayed locked up in his room.
「Anyway, why’d she get friendly all of a sudden? I’m sure I’m nothing but an annoying brat in her eyes.」
Hikaru did not understand how the receptionist felt; guilt seized her heart, thinking she might’ve killed a young boy indirectly.
「Mr. Hope, huh…」
Hikaru’s parents “hoped” Hikaru to have a bright future, but it didn’t work out for his life was cut short. He wasn’t sure how to react to someone calling him “Mr. Hope.”
The sun was going down. Most food carts closed at sundown; in fact, most of them were already closed.
「This is bad.」
If food carts were not available, he’d had to eat at a bar or a restaurant. That would be bad for him as he would have to stay longer. He’d be in trouble if someone recognized his clothes.
「Are you still open?」
「Hmm? We’re closing.」
The other shops were already completely closed. This was the only one still open.
「Every other shop is closed by now. You should’ve come sooner.」
「I… Is that so…」
No other choice then. I’ll just sleep while enduring the hunger even though I have money…
His stomach grumbled.
「Oh? Fuhahahaha! That was one sad stomach growl! Fine, fine. You can have this for 10 gilans if you want.」
The shop owner held out a leftover yakisoba wrapped in a huge leaf that looked like bamboo grass.
「Can I really have it?」
「Next time, come eat when we’re open. Later.」
A treasure. The greatest treasure ever! Hikaru strolled forward, still-warm yakisoba in his hand. Unable to control himself any longer, he entered a back alley. After checking to see no one was watching, he sat down behind a barrel and opened the leaf. His stomach growled from the aroma of the spices that rose from the food. He relentlessly dug in.
Hunger is the best appetizer. It was so scrumptious, his tongue went numb. Meat juices and fat danced wildly inside his mouth.
「It’s so good, Roland…」Hikaru told his body’s owner, who now only exists within his memories.
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