The Rookie Training Party
Yumina led Shirley to the guild’s parlour but stopped as she held the doorknob.
“LIKE I WAS SAYING! This is a good opportunity for us as adventurers!”
“And I’m telling you, you’re wrong! A great opportunity? To get us all killed, maybe!”
From inside the room, they could hear the shouting of two younger adventurers, a boy and a girl. As Shirley shot her a questioning look, Yumina just sighed whilst massaging her forehead.
“Those two… They can’t stop quarrelling even at a time like this…?”
“What is this all about?”
“Ah, this is the rookie adventurer party I was talking about. Unfortunately, these two seem to be old rivals or something like that, they’re always bickering.”
Arguments between new adventurers aren’t uncommon. But Yumina seems to be grumbling even more than usual, is it possible that these two are on such bad terms that they’re constantly almost coming to blows?
“Both of you, that’s enough.”
The noisy argument is cut cleanly by a calm voice, followed by the sound of two hard thwacks.
“Sounds like it’s over.”
“Yes. We should probably go in before they start up again.”
As she enters the room with Yumina, Shirley glanced at the adventurers sitting there.
Two young adventurers, a boy and a girl, are squatting in the middle of the room holding their heads. The girl had slightly pointed ears.
Standing above them holding out both their fists was a person she recalled seeing at some point… and adventurer with the head of an ox and a massive war axe on his back, a Minotaur beast man.
And the last person. A brown haired teenage boy who looked familiar. That’s right, the magical knight that she had saved when his party had met with misfortune in the goblin nest.
It looks like he continued with his adventures even after all that. When he saw Shirley, he broke into a smile.
“Alright, settle down! Jeez, if new adventurers got scared away by your racket making it would cause me no end of trouble.”
“‘We’re sorry’ he says… just whose fault do you think this is?”
“Ha!? It was you who-!”
“You two really want to start up again?”
Just as they were about to get up in each others’ faces again, the minotaur fellow’s raised fist and Yumina’s cold smile made them quickly sit back down.
“Now that you’re finally quiet, we can do some introductions. Now, Shirley, if you please.”
Shirley and Yumina take one sofa, whilst the others take the sofa opposite.
Although the minotaur man declined to take a seat and gave off an air of apathy, Yumina nonetheless prompted Shirley to introduce herself with a cheery voice to try and lighten the mood.
“My name is Shirley. My role is a front line swordsman.”
However, betraying Yumina’s expectations, there’s only an awkward silence after Shirley’s all too brief introduction.
“Um… is that all?”
“What else do they need to know?”
Silence loomed again. As Yumina desperately thought of some way to break the ice, the minotaur beast man stepped forward.
“I’m Asterios, the leader of this party. I’m an adventurer who originally started in this town like Shirley did, but this is our first time speaking.”
“That’s true. I’ve seen you around, but I’ve never been introduced nor talked to you. Are you a warrior monk, by any chance?”
“That’s exactly right.”
She had thought that he had a relatively gentle nature considering his race, but it made sense once she saw his attire.
Although the weapon he wields is the traditional battle axe of the minotaur race, he wore a gown and a bell inscribed with the emblem of the Ethereal Mother hung on his neck next to his identification tag.
The holy teachings of the sky mother don’t discriminate between the races. It makes sense that he would be selected as a teacher, considering how the church itself teaches.
The church values having a calm mind and manner above all else, you won’t find any priests or monks who preach rhetoric like a firebrand. For the armed monks of the church, they must be warriors who are as pure of heart as they are brave.
“And these are the adventures I’m currently leading as an instructor.”
“Then, it’s my turn!”
The breathtakingly beautiful girl was fairly short, sporting a small breastplate covering her torso and maroon coloured hair.
Her pointed ears marked her as a demi-human, and those golden eyes gleamed with curiosity. She must be a hobbit.
Since she has to be 15 years old to enrol in the guild, her height means that there’s no way she’s an elf, despite those ears. Also, that baby face of hers, if you weren’t the scrutinizing type you might think she was younger than Shirley’s daughters.
“My name is Leia! I’m a magical archer! …And just for the record, I’m a half-elf, so don’t mistake me for a hobbit.”
She swallowed her surprise as it crept up her throat. You really do have to admire Shirley’s ability to adapt quickly to situations.
Half-elves are half human and half elvish mixed-race children. They live three times as long as the average human, but of course, that’s a blink of an eye compared to pure-blooded elves.
But regardless, half-elves and regular elves both have virtually identical ageing to humans until around twenty years old, why is it that this girl looks so underdeveloped?
“I’m next? My name is Cudd. I’m a scout.”
Black hair and black eyes, a rarity in this country. He’s of medium build in both height and weight and is garbed in light clothing to help him move around easier. The only gear she could see on him was a tool bag and a large knife on his waist.
He seems like the complete opposite to Leia. Whilst she seems to have an air of haughtiness about her, this boy has an aura of constantly being on guard.
“Um, we’ve met once before, but I failed to introduce myself that time. I’m Kyle, a magic knight who just recently joined the party. I wanted to thank you again for saving me the other day.”
“Eh? Huh? You two know each other?”
“Well, sort of.”
After hearing the name of that boy, Shirley looks at the tags of the adventurers in the room.
Asterios has a silver tag, signifying his A-Rank status. The rest of the party are bronze. Shirley had her doubts.
“I don’t mind going as a party, but isn’t it too early for E-Rank adventurers to fight a dragon? When the fighting starts, it may be hard to protect them, you know?”
There is no restriction on who can receive a request, be they E-Rank or S-Rank. If one isn’t confident enough in their abilities to progress they can choose a request around or below their rank, and if one is ready to brave death in order to prove themselves they can pick a higher ranked request.
The adventurers guild isn’t some kind of, especially close-knit organization. When adventurers register, it’s made clear to them that any injury or death that occurs when taking requests is their own responsibility, and there’s no such thing as worker compensation.
“Actually, when it comes to facing the dragon what good will the E-Ranks be? Only Asterios would be able to do anything. To be honest, this doesn’t seem like very effective training at all.”
The young adventurers wither under her merciless assessment. They’re already aware of the reality without being told.
Anyone who would have no doubts about fighting such a formidable foe at their level would be a fool. Even if there is a high ranking adventurer attached, sending E-Ranks against a dragon just seems like a suicide mission.
“She’s not wrong. But, I think there has been a slight misunderstanding.”
Shirley looks towards Yumina. As if she only just realized her mistake, she put her hands together in apology.
“Ah, s-sorry! I guess I didn’t explain this well enough.”
“Don’t worry, I was going to ask you for more details anyway… By the way, this request was originally posted because of unexpected encounters with dragons when fighting lower level monsters, right?”
“Yes. As you may have guessed, before Kyle joined us, we had gone to Jewelsaad Mine before in order to exterminate the bad bonobos that were inhabiting it, but…”
Bad bonobos are monkey-like monsters that mostly live in mountainous regions.
They are intelligent monsters, to the point where some of them can even use magic. They have long, thin limbs and prefer to attack from range with stones and magic instead of fighting up close. They’re typically easy for E-Rank adventurers to deal with, but there have been reported incidents where bonobos have grouped up with goblins, and that can be troublesome.
“The bonobos were living in the company of a dragon, right? It’s a story you hear a lot lately.”
“Correct. Of course, with only two E-Rank adventurers as my backup it was an impossible situation, so we immediately returned to the guild. But there was a problem.”
“When we were trying to escape, I lost the jewel in my necklace.”
Leia took over from Asterios and indicated the necklace she wore that had an empty round indent in its centre.
“It’s my coming of age gift, something handed down in my family for generations. It was made by an ancient master craftsman who used large diamonds. The gemstone fell out when I dropped it… Since those bonobos picked it up, it’s probably in that dragon’s nest now, huh?”
Leia had been jovial until now, but her face had turned serious. If you lose such a cherished family heirloom, it would be no surprise if an expression as bright as the sun would darken.
“I understand now, so the reason for going to the mine is not just for rookie training. You intend to go to the dragon’s nest and retrieve the diamond… is that it?”
The things dragons covet the most are gold, silver and diamonds. As an A-Rank adventurer called for a withdrawal, it seems like the dragon is definitely not a young one either.
Even though she doesn’t know if there are any other diamonds in the nest, there’s no way Shirley would be able to distinguish it from the others if there were.
“Well, if that’s the case, wouldn’t it be better if you just retrieve the stone after I’m done killing the dragon… Wait, that won’t work. I should ask, do you have the funds to buy it back at market price?”
Because the number of binding agreements between the guild and the government are few, the adventurers who slay a dragon are free to carry sell as much of its loot as they like regardless of who it belonged to. As for what they leave, it is confiscated by the knights and soldiers of the Kingdom who bring it back to the royal treasury.
It’s because of this that any adventurer who manages to slay a dragon can earn huge amounts of wealth, though it’s also a rule that anyone who didn’t contribute to the request is not permitted to enter the nest.
If you enter the nest without being a part of the successful party and steal gems and valuables like a hyena, you will be found out as a liar by the priest’s magic have both the treasure confiscated and your honour as an adventurer ruined.
If Shirley had to make an allegory, it would be like this. The tacit understanding between adventurers is similar to the codes of chivalry that knights adhere to, taking the reward from a request you had no part in was an unthinkable breach of conduct and their reputation amongst other adventurers would never recover.
“But, I had a thought. A group of bonobos that live under a dragon, the request to exterminate them is still active. What if we defeat the bonobos whilst you focus on fighting the dragon?”
Asterios placed the request on the desk, and on it, in thick red lettering there were written the words ‘Dragon Outbreak’.
“So essentially, you can prove that your party contributed to the dragon suppression by killing the bonobos that are subservient to it, and we can have this be a double request… is that it?”
“Of course, this way it’s not a lie that this is a training quest as well, right? What’s more, even if they can’t participate in the battle, they could learn a lot just by watching you from afar. And if you’re worried about the rookies’ safety, don’t be.”
His huge chest moves and the bell around his neck rings out a clear tone.
“Magical barriers are my strong suit. No matter how strong the opponent is, the barrier should be able to give them a chance to escape.”
“The guild master herself had no problems with Asterios’ proposal. Even so, there’s no doubt that this is going to be a dangerous task, if the newcomers aren’t up for it then…”
When Yumina turned to look at Kyle and Cudd, the former nodded assertively and the latter scratched his head as if he didn’t really have any choice but to agree.
“It may be dangerous, but I still want to go. I know we just met, but we’re still a party.”
“I agree. Besides, it might not be so bad having this little kid be indebted to me.”
“Who’s a little kid, you fresh punk!?”
Leia kicks Cudd hard in the shin, forcing him to hop on the spot whilst clutching it. It seems she doesn’t like being teased about her height.
“What are you doing, you shitty little brat!”
“You said it again!? No one get in my way! I’m going to make this one cry his eyes out!”
“W-wait, you two, stop fighti- uwagh!?”
Kyle tried to break the two up, but he got an elbow in the face for his efforts. As the magical knight lay sprawled on the floor and the two began to wrestle, the other three people in the room observed the pathetic scene.
“…Is it always like this?”
“Mm. It makes me embarrassed as an instructor to say it, but apparently, these two have been fighting like this since they were children, and will start fights over the most trivial things constantly.”
“Before I came in they were fighting… What kicked that off?”
“They were arguing about whether or not to take on the dragon.”
“Well, they should be free to choose, but…”
Even if they hadn’t been talking for half an hour, Shirley felt like she had a good grasp on the personalities of those two.
The cautious boy with the venomous tongue and the curious girl who was perhaps a little too reckless. And with very easy to anger personalities, it’s like the perfect storm for petty squabbles and fights between them.
“But even though they’re like this, they never seem to step on each other’s feet during battles.”
“I see. So you’re saying their constant fighting is proof of how close they really are?”
“”We’re not close!””
In perfect synch, they shouted loud enough to echo through the guild.
Not gonna lie, I kinda wish she was a hobbit. That would be pretty unique.