Reunion (One-Sided) with the Old World
Black-haired people were rare in this world. Those with black hair and black eyes were even rarer.
Hikaru quickly hid himself. The hotdog stand owner was staring in his direction. There\'s a girl talking all high-and-mighty in front of you! Look at her, not me! he thought. But the owner kept his eyes on him. What\'s wrong with you?!
Hikaru set his cla.s.s to Stealth G.o.d: Darkness Wanderer, activated his Stealth skills, then stepped out into the open.
「Ah, hotdog! How I missed this! Though it\'s not like I ate a lot of them before!」
The owner didn\'t say a word, still staring at Hikaru\'s general direction.
Why are you looking this way?! Can you see me?!
Hikaru moved left and right, but the man\'s eyes kept following him. His Stealth should be on right now. As proof, the people walking down the road didn\'t notice him at all. Yet the owner had his eyes fixed on Hikaru.
「Hey, mister! Are you listening?!」
「What are you looking at?!」
The fact that the man didn\'t even answer properly scared Hikaru. An enemy who was immune to the effects of Stealth had appeared. He wanted to check the owner\'s Soul Board, but right now the girl with the black hair and eyes was more important.
Hikaru froze from what he saw.
【Soul Board】Selica Tanoue
Age: 17 Soul Rank: 104
I expected a j.a.panese surname, but not that rank. Seriously, a hundred and four?! He had never seen such a number before. In fact, he didn\'t know it was possible to go over a hundred. Her Skill tree was as follows…
….【Magic Resistance】5 (MAX)
He took a second look without thinking. Immunity-type Skills were probably maxed out at five points. That part was fine. The problem was her Mana which had 19 points on it. Lavia\'s 11 points was already plenty and this girl had 1.5 times more than that. She\'s a monster.
It was strange how all four of her elements had the same five points. Lavia had six on Fire which provided incredible firepower to her spells, and the reason why the king wanted her. But this girl had five points in all of them. She had three points on another Skill as well - Spirit\'s Affection - that was unknown to him.
I guess this Spirit\'s Affection balances her affinity to the elements?
Countless questions raced through his mind. Although her having zero points on Magic Principle most likely meant her mana consumption was awful.
But one thing\'s clear: She\'s j.a.panese. We\'re probably in the same boat. The fact that she has plenty of unused points could also mean she can check Soul Boards.
She was only seventeen, yet her Soul Rank was a hundred and four. That meant she raised levels like crazy which was pretty much what a j.a.panese person would do.
Why would anyone raise their levels in RPGs? The answer was simple. Because they can.
A lot of j.a.panese people loved levelling. If I levelled up, something awesome is bound to happen. She seemed to believe in that which meant she probably played RPGs before.
She\'s a member of the Four Stars of the East, for sure.
The high stats and the fact that she had no one else with her meant she was an adventurer. Someone this strong would be among the higher ranks. Hikaru wouldn\'t be surprised if she was rank B. In fact she could even be higher than that.
A powerful adventurer like her being in Pond couldn\'t have been a coincidence. It was safe to a.s.sume she was a member of the four-women party of B-ranked adventurers known as the Four Stars of the East.
Please don\'t tell me the other three are j.a.panese as well. Just calm down, Hikaru. She might not be an enemy. Who knows, maybe we\'ll get along since we\'re both j.a.panese? Nah, I shouldn\'t reveal my ident.i.ty to her. Their party is famous. I can\'t be linked with them or Lavia will be in danger. Wait a sec… Why are they even in Pond?
There was only one reason they would be in town. The request about escorting Count Morgstad\'s daughter that they were supposed to take, but got stolen from them by rank C adventurers. What they thought about that, Hikaru could only guess. But wouldn\'t it be safe to a.s.sume that they were interested in Lavia?
I have to stay away from them for sure.
Hikaru backed away quietly.
Hey, hotdog guy. Why are you staring at me?!
Hikaru hightailed it away from the place.
「Hey, mister!」the girl said.
「I asked what you were looking at.」
「Cats? Oh, wow, you\'re right!」
Hikaru didn\'t notice the stray cats loitering by the roadside. The hotdog stand owner had his eyes on them. The cats dispersed quickly as soon as Selica started running towards them.
「…So there you have it. I\'m curious about what their plans are, so I\'m going to investigate for the rest of the day.」
「I\'m okay with that. Will you be okay? They\'re strong people, right?」
Lavia looked worried as she ate her sandwich. She felt a bit disappointed when she laid eyes on her food as she somewhat expected Hikaru to buy hotdogs.
「I\'ll be fine. They won\'t notice me… I think.」
The image of the hotdog stand owner\'s eyes following him around made him doubt himself. What humiliation.
「I know you can\'t move about, so I brought stuff you can read.」
「You\'ve read most of the adventure novels so I got you something a bit different.」
They were basically books for practical purposes. Botanical picture books, monster picture books, study on dungeons. Lavia\'s eyes grew bright. They were books with no protagonists, but by using the knowledge she would gain by reading them, she could become a protagonist of her own adventure story.
「Thank you, Hikaru!」
「I didn\'t expect you to be that happy.」
Hikaru left the hotel, feeling warm inside. His first stop: the Adventurers Guild. The Four Stars of the East could be there. As they say, \"Know yourself as well as your enemy\".
「I apologize for taking some of your time, Guildmaster. You must be busy.」
「It\'s quite all right. We have to entertain rank B adventurers.」
「I\'m glad to hear that.」
「So may I know what the Four Stars of the East is doing in Pond?」Unken asked as he took his teacup. He was seated on the couch in the Guildmaster\'s office. Steam rose from his freshly-brewed tea.
「I believe you already know the answer to that.」
「I don\'t know which is why I\'m asking you.」
Unken tilted his cup of tea and took a sip, but his gaze was fixed on the woman in front of him. She looked to be less than twenty years old, with hair tied back and blue eyes that didn\'t leave Unken. She was beautiful - the bridge of her nose slender, her lips a pinkish color. Young men wouldn\'t be able to ignore her. Unken-san, however, was a Man Gnome over 200 years old - he was way past his prime.
Selyse Lande, also known as the Sun Maiden, was a B-ranked adventurer and the leader of the Four Stars of the East. Her silver breastplate looked like a work of art, with ornaments on the surface. She looked immaculate in her beige cloak and clothes.
In a way, her appearance was out of the ordinary. Wearing clothes of such color would normally be considered foolish for adventurers. Walking outdoors would kick up clouds of dust, and fighting sometimes meant getting covered in blood. They\'d get dirty right away.
Yet she most likely wore such clothing on a daily basis. There were a few explanations for this. Either she was loaded enough that she could procure new clothes right away, or she frequently met with people of fairly high status.
「I was informed that it was the Pond branch that stole our job - the request to escort Count Morgstad\'s daughter to the royal capital.」
「\"Stole\" is a poor choice of words. I believe the whole matter went through regular procedure. I received a report as well that the royal capital branch agreed.」
「It was the submaster that processed it, correct?」
「Yes. Though he\'s not here at the moment.」
Unken wore a sour expression. The submaster suddenly left Pond and went back home three days ago saying he had a summer cold and he needed to rest. In retrospect, he probably heard about the Four Stars of the East coming here so he ran away.
「I\'m not here to ask for an apology, Sir.」
「What do you want, then?」
「A do-over of the job.」
It was an unexpected request. The Count\'s daughter had either already been kidnapped or escaped. There was nothing to \"do-over\".
「I take pride in our hundred percent success rate. It doesn\'t sit right with me that our job, although stolen, resulted in a failure.」
「But how can you redo the request when there\'s no one to escort?」
「I want your permission to conduct an investigation on the daughter\'s disappearance. We can operate better with the Adventurers Guild authorization.」
It wasn\'t a complicated request, and a part of Unken was still displeased about the case as well.
「Okay. We\'ll do our best to cooperate. I\'ll give the submaster a good talking-to once I see him.」
「That sounds good.」
The submaster must\'ve wanted the spotlight so bad that he rushed things too much. A request from a n.o.ble. A designated job, but the requested adventurers weren\'t available. If he pulled it off, he would earn himself a good reputation from the n.o.bles. As for the rank C adventurers, he probably told those men he\'d give them a high-paying job request and in exchange, they\'ll be operating in the Pond branch for a while. After all, the highest ranked adventurers in Pond were only ranked D. It would be a great feat for him if he recruited C ranks to the local branch.
「Too much ambition will destroy you, I suppose.」
「All right. Let\'s get into specifics…」
Unken told Selyse the details about the case, the scope of her investigation, and agreed to lending her a map of Pond. After the discussion, Selyse got on her feet, saying she was going to meet up with her other party members.
「If you run into any problem, just come see me.」
「I will. Goodbye.」
As she was about to leave the room, she stopped.
「Is there any other room here on the second floor?」
「The submaster\'s room is right over there.」
「No one\'s in there, right?」
「Yes. I would notice their presence if someone was in there.」
「Is there something wrong?」
「I just felt like someone was there. It seems my desire to start the investigation quickly is affecting my composure.」
「The girl\'s tracks grow fainter with every pa.s.sing hour. I can understand the pressure, but it wouldn\'t do you any good if you panic.」
「You\'re right. If you\'ll excuse me.」
Selyse left the Adventurers Guild.
Note: Like I mentioned before, the LN doesn\'t follow the WN, so there\'s no way to fit this image in the story. But I added an ill.u.s.tration of Selica anyway just to give an idea of what she looks like.