Three Free Days Part 1
Adventurers are always teetering on the edge of death. And for the children in this frontier town that are left behind by the adventurers that fall from that tightrope, they are sheltered by the orphanage established by The Golden Witch.
The orphanage is supported by Canary, whose financial might dominates 30% of international trade. It was quite large compared to the orphanages you might find in other towns and cities you would find on the continent, and like most orphanages, it is run by members of the faith… Simply put, it was heavily influenced by the gospel of the Goddess of the Sky.
Because of that, despite having a sponsor as ludicrously wealthy as Canary, the orphanage where Chelsea lives did not accept a lavish amount of funding. At the very least, she keeps all the smooth talking shady real estate investors and land speculators away.
All the children that live there pray at the chapel every morning and help with various day to day chores, like working in the field or taking care of the youngest orphans. Just like any ordinary family, good kids were praised whilst the mischievous ones were scolded. Some of them have part-time jobs or even help in the management of the orphanage. Although there wasn’t much by way of luxury, it was still a very lively place.
Since this frontier town orphanage never had to worry about problems like lack of funds, predatory real estate buyers or heartless landlords, it was by all means not a bad place to live at all.
“So, this is a new game that was brought over by the Director the other day. It’s called ‘The Adventurer’s Game of Life’.”
Of course, Canary still liked to support them in her own ways. So, she often sent over things like outdoor equipment and games.
In Chelsea’s room… Or rather, the room that Chelsea shared with four other orphans, the other girls looked confused at the big board game that was laid out in front of them.
“What is this?”
“Umm, lemme see, first we have to decide on the goals and rules, then you can go through the squares with the number you get from spinning the roulette.”
In the center of that unfolded gameboard… There was a roulette wheel in the middle of it with a small blue ball on it, with words written in fluorescent magical energy projected in the air above it.
Canary really didn’t hold back even when creating just a simple board game, using complicated sorcery that exceeded the vast majority of magic tools.
As if to demonstrate the skill and commitment of that witch, every time Chelsea moved around the letters and words in the air, the objects and shapes decorating the board would shift around at a dizzying pace.
“Oh? This is…”
As the other girls watched Chelsea manipulate the board with excitement and gasps, Grimhilda looked as if she realized something, but Chelsea’s explanation of the rules meant that no one noticed.
“So, say we set killing goblins as the goal, we can’t just go straight to the goblin nest. We all have to get to the guild to receive the request, buy magic tools and train your skills. Then, whoever gets rid of the goblins first is the winner, but if no one finishes before the turn limit we decide on, then the goblins will go crazy all over town and we’ll lose.”
“Wow… That seems interesting.”
“Doesn’t this seem like the kind of thing boys would like?”
On the goal square, there was a magical projection of three goblins standing in front of a den. What’s more, all over the board there were squares with projections of things like varying sizes of treasure chests, weapons and tools, so it was fun just looking at it.
“Also, going by the rules we have to keep track of money that’s used in trading and stuff, but we have to do all the maths ourselves.”
“Is this actually meant for kids our age!?”
At first, it just seemed like a normal game… But, considering the person who made it, you can’t completely discount the possibility that it was some sort of advanced form of bullying.
“Well, it’s just using the times table and dividing. We can just leave it to Sophie…”
“N-Now now. If everyone writes down the numbers on a big piece of paper, I can help as well.”
By the way, this rule was put in place to stop cheating.
“Oh? I do not need help with a thing like that.”
As the girls were deciding on who would do the maths, Grimhilda interjected.
“Doing such simple calculations as this is as easy as breathing to me. Therefore, I will not trouble you to help me.”
“Ohh! I don’t really know why, but I can sense a smart kid aura!”
Tio, Chelsea and Lisa, who treated maths like a hated enemy, turned with wonder in their eyes as Grimhilda said that, puffing out her chest.
“I can even do all of your money calculations for you if you like! In fact, just by leaving managing it to me, I shall even increase it!”
“Ohhh, then I’ll leave it to you, Grinnhilde.”
“This way I can play without worrying about it. Thanks, Grandhilde.”
“Please and thank you~, Greenpeace~”
“Who is that!?”
As all three of them mispronounced her name, Grimhilda’s face turned red.
“My name is Grimhilda! Please say it properly!”
“No can do. It’s too long.”
Despite it being both strange sounding and longer than most of the names commoners used, Lisa still apologized for getting the name wrong by raising a single hand in front of her head as if in prayer.
“But, it really is kinda long. It’s not a bad name, but I think it’d be easier if there was a shorter way.”
“You mean like a nickname for her?”
“N-Nickname? I-I have heard of such a thing… Are nicknames not the names only shared amongst…!?”
Grimhilda still seemed to be a little angry about being called Greenpeace earlier, but she began to cool down into a soft murmur as she heard Mira use that word.
“Alright, then let’s call her Hill for now.”
“Ah, I really don’t think that’s a good name for a girl…? For some reason, it doesn’t sound right.”
“Then, what about Hillhill?”
“You just doubled it!?”
“Wouldn’t Hilda be fine? Then again we only just met you so we might be going too fast, so is it alright?”
They were already acting so familiar considering they had only just met, but Tio suddenly asking so directly to call her by a nickname, the corners of Grimhilda’s mouth twitched towards a smile.
“….Haa!? I-I-I suppose it can’t be helped! A-Although you might be accused of lese majesty, it will be okay, since I give you my personal permission!”
Noticing that her face was quickly melting into a goofy looking grin, she used her hands to try and keep her mouth straight… But even though she can’t hide her smile, she still struck out her chest and tried to keep up her pride.
“Less my jesty…? But it’s nice if we can call you that, though!”
“Y-Yes, there’s no need to hesitate! This is what people like me have to do! It is called N-No… Bills Ablige? That’s it!
She yelled that out with a face as red as a tomato. Those ten year olds from out in the sticks looked confused at her words.
“No Bills… What?”
“Sophie, have you heard of it?”
“No, I have no idea either. What is this No Bills Ablige thing?”
“Can you do it here? This… Nobu whatever?”
“Ehh!? R-R-Right here!? Now!?”
Grimhilda, or rather Hilda, quivered as the rest of the girls looked at her with high expectations, as cold sweat began to run down her back.
Her face bore the signs of someone backed into a corner. Was it that pride of hers that compelled her to do it? Hilda looked petrified as she folded her hands in front of her chest.
“No… No bliss obliglaaay…”
Sophie and the others knew it straight away. The girl had just used a big word that she had heard somewhere without really knowing what it meant. Of course, she knew it as well. If they kept pushing her on this, it would drive Hilda to tears.
Although they were only ten-year-old girls, the way life was lived in this frontier town meant that they often spent a lot more time amongst adults, since they far outnumbered the children relative to other cities. They had learned to read body language well. So, all five of them made the exact same choice at the exact same time.
“A-Anyways, should we start the game now?”
“You’re right. We don’t know when the boys might try to come steal it.”
“W-Wait a moment! Where are your reactions!? Even though it brought me that much shame, I still did the ‘No Bills Ablige’ for you!?”
“N-Now now. We don’t have that much time, after all.”
Had they really forgotten there was so little time in the day until then? Hilda looked unconvinced about it, but as she sat in front of the boardgame with the others, her sense of curiosity about playing won through. Next to the board was a big piece of paper and pencils for calculating all the money being used in the game.
“Alriiight, the person who finishes last has to have a punishment!”
“Ehhh, do we really have to?”
“Hmph, that sounds perfect! I will prove that no matter how many commoners stand against me, they are no match for a noble like me! With this punishment, this time it will be the turn of the loser to cry, not me!”
And so, on that day during the summer break, a serious battle between the girls of the frontier town and the young demon lady raised its curtains.
…The young man named Siegfried watched silently as the girl proudly boasted, even though she would be the one reduced to tears only two hours later.
In the Kingdom’s southwesternmost forest, in a place abandoned since ancient times, a crumbling ruin without a single trap, the screams of those three rookie adventurers bounced off the walls.
“Keep running, you little idiot! You’re gonna die if you stop!”
“I know that! And don’t call me little, you baldie! If we survive this, I’m going to pummel you!”
“Who the hell are you calling bald!?”
“You’re still fighting at a time like this!? Not that it really matters at this point though!”
Kyle, Cudd and Leia. The three E-Rank adventurers with bronze tags dangling around their necks were once again taking on requests in a bid for a promotion to D-Rank today.
Really, this should have been something they could handle. The request was the lowest one they could find, exterminating goblins. There were a group of goblins living in the ruins nearby who had stolen some chickens, and since the group kept getting bigger, it was only a matter of time until they attacked a woman or child. That was the details of the request given by a nearby village.
Although it might seem like a step down for the party that defeated the monster known as Hundred Legs, it still serves as another good stepping stone towards proving their abilities.
Keeping a lid on the monsters not bound by man’s laws is the job of the adventurers. If the people are so tormented by monsters that the nation loses faith in the guild, it would only lead them both to ruin.
Although for adventurers like Shirley, it’s quite simple to just do enough requests to maintain their rank, it’s a different story entirely for those adventurers looking to raise their rank instead, as the best way to climb the ladder is to take more and more urgent requests. And these days, the most urgent requests they can actually take on are usually goblin exterminations.
(Ohhh… Why…!? Why do things like this always happen when I get involved with goblins…!?)
As Kyle kept sprinting whilst looking left and right for danger, in his heart he was crying.
Based on Asterios’ teachings as well as the experience they had gained so far, they had tried to clear out the goblin nest as carefully as they could.
They had thrown a number of poisonous smoke bombs down the entrance way, then blocked it off with Cudd’s earth magic. After that, it was a process of cutting down the goblins incapacitated by the fumes.
After the effects of the smoke bomb had dissapitated when they ventured further into the cave, Cudd had taken the vanguard and scouted ahead looking for traps whilst Leia covered him with her crossbow. As Kyle made sure to keep an eye out for any ambushes, they kept advancing like that.
As they methodically finished off the goblins they uncounted one by one, they made their way to the depths of the nest, where the party encountered a Goblin Queen that ruled over it, but it was then that they came face to face with it.
A huge monster had smashed through the walls of the ruins and tore the Goblin Queen, almost twice the height of an adult male, in half with one bite. As soon as they saw that maw full of fangs dripping with blood and torn up intestines, those rookie adventurers turned tail and ran for it.
“What is it with these encounters of yours!?”
“I’m sorry! I don’t really know why, but for some reason, I feel like I have to say sorry!”
“There’s no way we can beat that thing, right!? Let’s get out of here!”
In order to deal with monsters many magnitudes larger than humans, generally speaking, you would have to be at least C-Rank. Those new bloods who knew that all too well sprinted as fast as they could towards the exit, using 《Physical Boost》to run even quicker.
“Hey, that thing is pretty slow!”
“Sure, but that doesn’t mean you should slow down either!?”
Was it some kind of silver lining? Although the monster had a head almost as large as its torso and a gaping maw to match, its limbs were short and stubby so it couldn’t move as fast as its would-be prey.
Not to mention, those ruins there were full of all sorts of derelict passageways and rooms. The movement of that giant beast that must have been at least three meters high was limited.
However, the condition for completing the request was the extermination of all the goblins in the nest. Even if it’s not something they could help at all, their life or death situation didn’t change the facts.
If they tried to claim they had completed the request properly, they would be immediately found out with a priest’s 《Sense Lie》, and they could kiss any dreams of promotion they had goodbye.
It was far too naïve to just hope that the monster would turn around and finish off the remaining goblins for them either. Although it’s a monster, it’s still wildlife, after all. There was no reason for it to behave in a way that would help a human being and with the party’s current level of strength there was no way they could take down that monster either, so they had no hope of making sure that the ten or so goblins they saw near the Goblin Queen had actually died.
So, in summary…
“T-The request is a failureeeeeeeeeee!!”
After all that, Kyle and his party returned to the frontier town from their failed request to clear out the ruins of goblins three days later… Kyle was able to hand over the follow-up investigation and extermination to Asterios.
Yet despite the misfortune they had fallen into and their depression over their failure, they were surprised when that person approached them with a request.
“Will you all come with me to the Land of Demons? This is important for my daughters as well.”
When the school is closed, that person didn’t go on adventures. Since they know both how against adventuring she is at this time of year, as well as the fact that she was actually the one inviting them on an adventure herself, they stood in complete shock at her proposal.
Just what on earth happened when they were out of town…? Well, it had all happened three days prior.