After finishing our five night and six days of exploration we were on the stairs back up to the surface.
The weight of the backpack full of materials was cutting into my shoulders. Not long now and we can get paid.
Lets quickly sell this off and go for a drink in one of the shops in front of the labyrinth.
I miss drinking warm sake on a cold day or a hot dram. Even a herbal tea with gin and honey would be nice.
To be honest, anything that would take the chill out of my bones would be welcome.
“Oi ossan. Sitting down over there. Isn’t that……..?”
I look where Jean is pointing and there is Cecily-san sitting on the edge of the steps.
There’s some light snow dancing in the air as it falls. What’s this person doing sitting out in the cold under the wintry sky?
“Hello. What’s wrong Cecily-san?”
I think I already know but let’s just see for now.
“I got Kuro-kuns handkerchief bloody so I brought him a new one.”
As I thought.
Though the answer was expected I admire her for waiting in the sub-zero temperatures.
Like Jenny-san said it’s quite a serious illness.
Kuro has an apologetic look on his face.
“You didn’t need to worry about it.”
“No, that won’t do. Please accept this. I looked for a similar one and I’d be happy if you accepted it.”
Cecily-san is the same age as me but has the face of a young girl in love for the first time.
“Thank you. It’s much nicer than the one I had. I’m sorry for your trouble.”
“It…It was no trouble at all…….” Cecily-san says while looking down.
It’s gone 4pm now. How long was she waiting for Kuro?
Usually, you’d freeze to death.
Is this the magic of love?
“I’m sorry about the handkerchief. Aren’t you cold?”
“N….No! I’m good at magic. I kept warm by using fire magic!”
While speaking she produced flames from both palms.
It was the magic of fire not the magic of love!
It’s novel though. A peaceful use of offensive magic.
I can’t say I hate it.
At Kuro’s words, the flames shoot up.
I can understand being happy but you can’t inject your emotions into your magic!
I’d better be careful as well.
“Cecily-san. Using flame magic in such a pace is a bit….”
I look around at the other adventurers.
“No! That was a mistake. Please excuse me!”
Cecily-san ran off in a hurry.
Kuro has a confused look on his face.
“What do you think of Cecily-san Kuro?”
I decided to just ask him straight out.
“Eh? Let’s see. I think she’s a good person, she doesn’t discriminate against us beastmen and above all she’s kind!”
Good for you Cecily-san. The possibility is not zero.
We watched Cecily-san disappear into the crowds leaving the labyrinth.
We earnt 70,000 rims each this time around.
It’s actually a pretty good income and it would have been more but we had to leave lots of material behind.
If we had managed to bring everything back I think we’d have earned over 80,000 rims each.
Meg was the most bitter over it.
Me and Kuro did our best but there was simply too much for us to carry.
Next time I’m bringing a pull cart along like other parties.
It’s not just for bringing materials back either. I need to take a lot of materials with me into the labyrinth so I can make new items.
My next main goal is to make the cart itself a golem.
As we were about to leave through the main gate we encountered Lainas.
“If it isn’t Ippei!”
“Lainas. It’s been a while.”
Lainas is the leader of a group called [Maximum Soul].
I see they are people of few words like usual.
Three of the vanguards are now equipped with small shields.
I think they are dropped by kobolds.
“We are evolving little by little. Next time we hope to get to the 5th ward.”
Lainas seems really happy.
Looking carefully some have leather helms and some have upgraded their weapons from daggers to canes and spears.
They certainly seem to be getting better as adventurers.
“The 5th ward has small rooms and can be very competitive with the limited space. If you don’t stop hunting by mid-afternoon you will struggle to find rooms to stay in.”
Because I fought together with [Maximum Soul] I give them some advice.
“Understood. Is Levy’s fountain frozen?” Lainas asks.
“It’s fine but you will want a lot of firewood. It’s pretty cold there. If you stop by the 3rd ward there’s some grass there that makes surprisingly good fuel. Be careful of the gold bugs though. They are particularly troublesome.”
“Aah. I had a bad time there.”
Oh yeah. I just remembered something.
“Before I forget, is your party name still [Maximum Soul]?”
“Of course! There can be no other name for this party!”
Apparently, Lainas seems to have gotten his name accepted.
“We gave in………..” one of the members informed me.
I think they will be okay but I’m still a bit worried about them going to the 5th ward so I give Lainas 3 life potions.
“These are life potions. I was originally a pharmacist back in my home country. Please consider them a substitute for a lucky charm.”
“Thank you Ippei.”
Lainas happily received the potions.
“By the way, does anyone know of a shop that deals in carts for the labyrinth?”
All the members of [Maximum Soul] are former porters so they should know of such a shop.
They unanimously recommend a shop called the [Shell Riaka Company] (1)
“You don’t want a big cart. The further down the labyrinth you go the harder time you will have with one.”
“A Riaka won’t be able to go through the 4th ward on the 2nd floor.”
“When you buy a Riaka don’t pay less than 70,000 rims. Any less than that and it won’t be very good.”
“Pay more for iron-bound wheels though you can get away with wheels wrapped in demon leather.”
“Always carry spare planks with you and your cart will last a good while.”
Usually, the members of [Maximum Soul] are people of few words but when asking about a riaka they suddenly become talkative.
“Thank you everyone. I’ll look for a cart using what you’ve told me.”
We thanked each other and went our separate ways.
It becomes dark in the blink of an eye during winter.
While chatting the area was surrounded by dusk.
The members of [Phoenix Company] had waited for me to finish talking.
“Hurry up ossan. I’m freezing here!”
“I demand warmth…….”
“I want to eat sweet things!”
“I’m hungry too.”
Though its incredibly cold a warm feeling comes over me seeing their faces.
I’m glad everyone returned safe and sound.
“Should we go to restaurant Dumas? It’s been a while.”
Restaurant Dumas was where [Phoenix Company] was born.
It’s a casual place but the food is good.
My suggestion was unanimously approved.
(1) Riaka are carts pulled either by hand or by a bike. I couldn’t find an English article, sorry.