“We want to use the Gate.”
“Please pull a waiting ticket and—”
“Look at this.”
There was no place in the human territory where touting the Imperial Family’s name wouldn’t work, as the whole human territory was part of the Empire.
As soon as they confirmed the authenticity of the crest, they let us use the Gate right away with no questions asked.
It seemed that they wanted to exempt us from paying the fee as well, but I insisted on paying as it would probably cause some problems in the future. Getting the highest priority in the use of Gates already seemed like an unfair advantage, but if we were also exempted from paying, that would reach someone’s ears.
“…I think what you’re doing is bad.”
I shook my head at Ellen’s words.
“I was told to use this in emergency situations, so what’s the problem with using it now?”
If you asked me, the situation clearly was an emergency.
Our travel plans had been about to go down the drain, and she didn’t think it wasn’t an emergency?
No, didn’t Charlotte actually give me the Crest because she knew such an event was going to happen? Wasn’t she thinking a bit too far ahead? Did Charlotte know everything?
“…Why are you saying that right now? And this doesn’t have anything to do with a winning mentality or anything.”
‘His ability… is already at that level, huh?’
I bet that’s what she was thinking!
And my ability’s name wasn’t winning mentality, but self-suggestion!
“We can just wait two days, then.”
She was a nice kid, after all, but she was impatient as well.
Ellen and I were able to reach the Exian Outpost in just a day, ignoring any queues lined up before the next Gates we had to go through using the fast pass called the Imperial Family’s Crest.
* * *
The Exian Outpost was the first human base built in the Darklands.
Their Demon World War campaign started from that place, and they also returned to the Empire through the same Gate.
It was their starting point as well their exit.
That was the Exian Outpost.
[Quest appeared – Adventures in the Darklands]
[Description: Complete your adventure in the Darklands safely.]
[Rewards : Rewards may vary depending on your performance. Rack in some results; don’t just cling onto others.]
And I was even given a quest.
However, it didn’t tell me what reward I would get; it just told me to rack in some results. Cling? What did those guys think I went there for?
It was clear it was worded like that because it thought I would just cling to someone and easily get some rewards after I returned.
What was it going to give me?! It might just give me a single achievement point after judging my performance. I was really worried that would actually happen!
Anyway, I decided that I shouldn’t worry about it for the moment—I’d lose as soon as I cared about what it did.
“It’s not much different here.”
“Did you think the sky would be all dark and ominous just because we are in the Darklands?”
The sky was dark around the place the Demon King’s Castle used to be, but where we were wasn’t much different from the Empire. Although the place could be called rather barren, even during the rule of the Demon King, I was rather certain that the sky was just overcast that day.
“Shouldn’t this be called a city rather than a base?”
The word ‘city’ felt more appropriate than base because the army had almost completely withdrawn already, leaving only a bare minimum. The site, once a large military base, was the new hotspot for adventurers.
The surrounding buildings didn’t seem much different from the ones found in the cities we had passed through.
The people seemed different, though.
While the guards and soldiers wore uniform equipment, the people there were armed with many different types of equipment.
Since most of the people there were adventurers, they differed from the soldiers in that they were armed in light armor rather than heavy armor.
That was a completely different kind of city, with only a small number of civilians and a large number of wanderers coming and going.
The city could be called a City of Adventurers.
“Let’s go to the Adventurers’ Guild.”
The Demon World War ended at the start of that year, and only half a year had passed since its end. Therefore, the exploration of the Darklands had only just begun, and the pioneering process hadn’t progressed much, so it was impossible to proceed further.
Adventurers were just pouring in, aiming to get rich quickly, as the exploration of the Darklands was still in its infancy.
That was why both veteran adventurers and newcomers who were just about to become adventurers flocked to the Exian Outpost.
As there were a lot of wandering adventurers pouring in, it was only natural that the inn businesses, providing their accommodations, flourished. Merchants selling equipment and supplies flocked towards that place as well as entertainment businesses for wealthy adventurers.
…The shadowy forces who planned on devouring that quick money also grew by the day. There would be gambling houses as well as many thieves.
Seeing the number of people coming and going and the countless new buildings being built every day made it clear that the rapid expansion of the city was tremendous.
As such, it was only natural for those who wanted to become adventurers to visit that place’s branch of the Adventurers’ Guild.
One didn’t need any qualifications or have to fulfill any kind of requirements to become an adventurer.
Anyone could become one.
However, they had a grading system in which one would start at the lowest rank, F-rank, and improve it through their performance. Naturally, F-rank adventures couldn’t receive any support from the Guild.
At that level, adventurer’s licenses granted one neither rights nor proved one’s qualification, so it was fine to just give it out. The Adventurers Guild didn’t seem to actively manage the adventurers, and they probably shouldn’t.
By the way, when I first visited the Capital, I had wondered what the adventurers were actually doing for a living, and there I was about to become one myself.
Well, I really didn’t know what to expect in this world.
The procedure for getting a license was rather simple. Without having to wait very long, we managed to get our adventurer’s licenses in the form of something like an ID card.
Both Ellen and I were then F-ranks.
Ellen stood blankly in front of the crowded Adventurers Guild counter. Although our business was over there, she didn’t take a step from where she stood.
I had an idea for why she was doing that.
At the end of Ellen’s gaze, there were some hanging pictures—huge paintings hanging high above the counter.
Names were written below them:
[Adventurers’ Guild – Hall of Fame]
There were pictures of five people. The middle picture showed Ragan Artorius.
It was the party consisting of the five heroes that had defeated the Demon Lord.
They were adventurers as well.
They had even reached the SS rank.
After the Demon World War, the Adventurers Guild raised their rank to such a legendary level. That high a rank didn’t even exist at first.
As the greatest adventurers in history, all of them kind of became something like role models.
Ellen was staring at her brother, who had become a legend, stuffed between the other pictures.
What was she thinking, I wondered.
She didn’t look like she was proud of him, at least.
* * *
Translator – KonnoAren
Proofreader – ilafy
Join our Discord for updates on releases!
There was no need for us to raise our adventurer rank. We would only work as adventurers for a month while on vacation.
Our registration with the Adventurers Guild was merely a formal matter; however, it sure would be nice if we could make some money.
So rather than taking up any requests, we would explore the area and report things to the guild to get paid once we found anything special.
Of course, if there were any good requests, we would try for those as well.
I didn’t know how Ellen felt about having reached the same starting line as her brother.
“We’ll have to take a carriage to reach St. Point.”
There were no trams or mana trains there, as it wasn’t the Capital. We would have to rely on primitive means of transportation like carriages from then on.
We made our way to St. Point, where I would pretend to meet Eleris by chance and then make her join the party. After that, we could take up a request from the Adventurers Guild Branch located there or wander around as we pleased.
Ellen and I headed to a nearby carriage station.
There were countless carriages lined up everywhere around the station.
“We want to go to St. Point.”
“Ah, then hop on. Price is two silver coins per person.”
Ellen paid four silver coins before we both boarded the carriage.
“Just one more person, and we’ll be off!”
There was no set departure time, so it seemed like they’d leave as soon as the carriage was full. There were five people in the carriage except Ellen and me.
All of them seemed to stare at Ellen.
“Ooh, little girlie, you already an adventurer at your age?”
Ellen tilted her head at the sudden question.
“Are ya even strong enough to hold a sword?”
“Also, you look like an aristocrat. You’ll get hurt, you know?”
“Hey, maybe that other kid is strong or something! Is he her escort?”
I didn’t know whether the people in the carriage all knew each other or not, but it seemed rather strange to them to find young children in a place where usually only adventurers gathered.
It looked like they thought she was a noble girl trying to play adventurer and that I was her escort.
If you were to ask me, it should be the other way around. But those bastards? Weren’t they even more cheeky than me?
If something happened, would she actually protect me?
“Be careful, kids. This isn’t a good place.”
– Tap, tap
The man who seemed to be in his thirties next to me patted my shoulder with his pot-like hands. I didn’t know if that guy was a veteran or something, but I felt somewhat gloomy.
Certainly, just by looking at our appearance, one would think we were youngsters; well, we actually were youngsters.
Because of Charlotte’s words that I might make more trouble for Ellen if I gave in to my temper, I had planned on putting up with their rude behavior to some extent.
I didn’t even want to start a useless fight.
We weren’t in Temple anymore. Ellen and I were holding swords, and so were they.
It would be a fight with blades, not fists.
Soon, the last passenger boarded the carriage.
“How are you all doing?”
It was a young man with dark blue hair. He somehow gave off a gloomy impression.
The adventurers didn’t seem to be well acquainted with each other, but they did greet each other briefly.
-Alright, we’re departing!
The coachman spurred the horse on, and soon the coach started moving while greatly rattling.
As I was used to mana trains, the rattling of the carriage was completely unfamiliar to me.
Ellen was sitting across from me, and the last passenger, the young man, sat beside me.
“Oh, how unexpected to see friends that are even younger than me. Nice to meet you.”
Visit readel.me for extra chapters.
He smiled somewhat sadly and held his hand out to me, I couldn’t refuse, so I shook it.
“I’m Dara Austin. And you are?”
“How old are you?”
The man next to me kept chatting away. He sure was annoying.
However, I couldn’t just tell him to shut up because he didn’t seem to hold any ill will towards me, smiling at me like that.
I didn’t know how long it would take to get to St. Point, so I didn’t want to cause any conflict with that person next to me.
Austin said he turned twenty that year. He mumbled that he thought that he started at a fairly young age but was surprised that there were people even younger than him, like Ellen and me, around.
“Are you two in a party?”
When I told him Ellen and I were a team, Austin nodded slowly.
“Then would you like to join our group? The others are waiting for me at St Point. It would be safer if we moved together… There is also a B-ranked adventurer in the party. He’s a veteran, so if you follow him, you should be safe. I’m still an F-rank.”
Austin said that it would help me build my career.
However, Ellen flatly refused, as if she didn’t want to hear anything more about it. The sharp refusal made Austin feel a little ashamed, so he scratched the back of his head.
“That’s that then.”
“Ah, well. Yeah…”
“Hey buddy, ain’t it too obvious that you’re flirting around here?”
“Ththat’s not what I’m…”
The men around us jeered at him, leading to Austin’s face turning bright red. Apparently he was interested in Ellen.
Not only Austin, but that old man that patted my shoulder also talked a lot, although some of his stories were actually useful.
“Is the northern part of Exian still so difficult to get to?”
“Well yeah. No one’s coming back from there, after all.”
“Not sure why. Some say there’s an orc colony around there; others say it’s a swarm of goblins.”
“Didn’t a subjugation squad of more than 50 go there last time?”
“They’re all missing.”
“Well… Whatever it is, it has to be something really strong.”
The most dangerous place around there was that area, the northern part of the Exian Outpost they were talking about.
St. Point was relatively safe, as it was one of the bases the Allied Forces built in the east. Most of the adventurers heading to the northern part never returned.
“How about the south?”
“They say it’s completely covered by a forest. There’s nothing else.”
“I’ve been there for more than two weeks, and I didn’t find anything but trees. It’s not any different than a desert there.”
“There are rumors that it isn’t a forest actually, but something like a barrier. A maze, maybe.”
“Why would there be a barrier in such a place?”
“I don’t know.”
“That’s not it. It seems that this place was once a dragon’s tomb, but the land got cursed…”
I would have liked to have known the truth about that place, but there were so many useless rumors floating about.
I felt like a quest might actually pop up, but nothing like that happened.
If there were too many rumors, one would never find out the real truth.
The carriages leaving the Outpost followed the route the Allied Forces had taken. The surrounding landscape wasn’t particularly different or anything.
“Isn’t it strange that they call it the Darklands, even though it isn’t particularly dark here?”
Austin muttered absentmindedly as he looked out, watching the scenery outside of the carriage.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the place didn’t look much different from the Human Realm. Rather, the vast landscape spread out before us looked much more beautiful.
And yet people called that place the Darklands.
It wasn’t me who answered him, but Ellen.
Austin seemed a little surprised that Ellen actually answered him.
-Rattle, rattle, rattle.
The carriage was moving slowly. Feeling it swaying back and forth like that made me remember some old memories.
It felt like riding in a Deuce and a Half back in the military.
It was kind of uncomfortable, but I somehow felt like I could sleep very well in there.
Right when I was about to fall asleep, Ellen called out to me in the softest voice.
As soon as I looked at Ellen, I couldn’t really explain what it was, but I could feel something.
She seemed calmer than usual.
A determined look.
I was able to tell what she was thinking to some extent by just looking her in the eyes at that point.
The carriage was getting slower.
There was no reason for it to slow down, but it did.
That was what Ellen was trying to tell me with her eyes.
The surrounding landscape had already changed—there were some trees growing around a wide road.
It seemed like we were heading towards a sparsely populated place.
I could see the adventurers inside the carriage pretending to be calm, not even holding their weapons in hand.
They were looking at us while pretending not to.
As if they were waiting for the right moment.
Watch out for people.
That moment had finally arrived.
Were they actually watching us as they were pretending to talk about banal things?
I had goosebumps all over my body.
The next moment, I could see Ellen mercilessly slamming the hilt of her sword into the person sitting next to her.
Before they could even try anything, Ellen began her attack. They didn’t know this was going to happen, so it seemed like the adventurers were greatly surprised.
Austin, in particular, was startled by the unexpected situation.
That made it clear.
Austin was not on their side.
I activated my supernatural power to strengthen my body.
Close combat type.
I also hit the person next to me with the hilt of my sword.
I didn’t know what those guys were planning on doing.
However, if we acted before they could, nothing would happen to us.
It was the Darklands.
Laws didn’t apply to that place.
There, the one with the stronger punch was justice.