Ex Strongest, Being Guided to an Inn
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“Hmm… as far as I can tell, I’m certain that it’s a bit suspicious. I thought that we were just lucky, but… it’s not the case when I think about it. It’s too convenient indeed.” (Steina)
After obtaining the information from the guild, Soma’s group left the guild right away. Together with Steina, who was recalling the discussion of that time, they were heading east on the main street of the town. In order to discuss the information they just heard, they decided to go to the inn first.
Nonetheless, the information obtained from the guild wasn’t that much. The guild knew that the monsters had disappeared, but they didn’t know more than the basic information. Even though the guild was able to verify the situation, they didn’t identify the cause and they seemed to be unable to grasp the situation too much.
For some reason, the one who gave them the information was the guild staff replacement. They were able to hear some stories, but the guild wanted Soma’s group to tell them if they had more information. It might be not nice to say this, but they shouldn’t expect too much.
“Well, it is a guild in such a remote place, so it is inevitable for them to ask adventurers to do something. To begin with, the quality of the adventurers here is not very good.” (Steina)
“Hmm… there seemed to be extra manpower, but there is no occasion that requires them.” (Soma)
“Even if the guild finds the document related to it, if the document isn’t detailed enough, they can’t understand that much. Rather than risking the document to be stolen, it is more on the side where the arrangement of document becomes a mess. I think that it is possible to use the extra manpower for simple jobs, but… I don’t think the guild knows how to deal with the situation.” (Steina)
“I feel that there is something they can do, such as checking the surroundings in order to find more detail, yes?” (Felicia)
“…They have other things to do, but the question is, can they do that?” (Sheila)
“As long as they don’t know what’s going to happen, the adventurers won’t do much for themselves.” (Steina)
“I see… so that’s the part of their characters, right?” (Felicia)
“Well, it’s seems that they have done a good job of monitoring the surroundings, so it’s hard to ask them to do more.” (Soma)
There seemed to be a reason why Soma didn’t see with other adventurers while looking for an inn.
There were many hunting grounds around this town. They were at the north, south, east and west directions, but since not a single monster could be found, the adventurers went to other places while thinking that the situation seemed to be strange. That time was when Soma was heading back by walking in the back alley, so he didn’t see them. If the timing of returning was a bit different, he might have noticed other adventurers, but… the outcome wouldn’t differ that much.
Even if he was told that something had happened as soon as people knew it, it wouldn’t have changed. In the end, the things that need to be done sequentially changed a little while he continued to look for an inn.
Perhaps, if it happened before they started looking for an inn, Steina might not have found that little girl by the time they started looking. Supposedly, that was the only difference, but…
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“By the way, are you guiding us to the inn, right?” (Soma)
“Hmm? What are you talking about? Are there any other places we are going?” (Steina)
“…When I think about it, the moment we left the guild, Steina-san were leading us as if it was a normal thing to do. Because of that, we didn’t say anything, but… is there anything that bothers you?” (Felicia)
Felicia narrowed her eyes as she said so probably because she was concerned. For instance, Steina might be thinking about something strange and try to bring them to a strange place. Felicia thought that Soma might also thinking the same thing.
However, she was actually over thinking. That wasn’t the reason why Soma was asking Steina. He shrugged his shoulders while smiling bitterly.
“Well, there is something to be worried about, but it’s not a big deal, alright. It’s just that I notice a familiar feeling in this area.” (Soma)
“…Familiar feeling? …Is it since a while ago?” (Felicia)
“Well, there are a lot of similar construction around here, so that feeling is not a mistake right? Anyhow, what would you do even if you notice such a feeling?” (Steina)
“That’s why I said it wasn’t a big deal. It doesn’t really matter even if it’s a familiar place.” (Soma)
Yes… Soma thought that this neighborhood was the place where he found Steina and the little girl. And because of what he had in mind, Steina’s reaction was as such.
Apparently, it wasn’t because of the mood.
However, Soma wasn’t going to say more, though he could only imagine what she meant. Perhaps, he would understand the reason soon.
Yes, his hunch was right.
“So, is this the best inn that you mentioned, Steina?” (Soma)
“Of course, it’s not the best inn after seeing everything so far, but at least, it’s the best inn in this town!” (Steina)
“Is this the place? To be honest, it’s different from what I expected.” (Felicia)
“…Yeah, it’s worn out.” (Sheila)
Steina surely guided them to an inn because that was the place where they had stopped.
But, the appearance wasn’t as what Steina had praised. Basically, Sheila’s words were a brief indication of the inn. If they could choose a proper phrase, they would call it a building with an unusual taste. The inn had an atmosphere that would make people hesitated for a moment, even if it was recommended. It didn’t make people felt suspicious, but the building was very old. People might wonder if it was alright.
The building wasn’t the only old buildings, but it seemed that the other buildings in the surrounding area were also the same. That didn’t relieve the anxiety. The inn gave an impression that it was a deserted building, and it got worse.
“He-hehe, you will only say that now, you know! But once you get inside, you will relook at me again!” (Steina)
“Hmm… if you say so, we should expect something, is it?” (Soma)
“You’re right… it’s surely rude to judge without looking inside.” (Felicia)
Steina went in while saying such a thing. Then, ‘Ooh’ came out instinctively from their mouth, and it was in a good meaning.
It was also a bit old-fashioned, similar to the impression they got from the outside. There was something like a wooden reception desk in a room that wasn’t very large. They encountered the desk the moment they entered the inn. The surrounding walls were also made of wood that told them how long it had been there by the bleach marks on it.
At first glance, it seemed that everything was so old. However, the way the inn was presented, it wasn’t about being antique, but it made Soma feel calm. An inn was a place to get a rest. As soon as he got inside, he felt that the atmosphere was right for him. It seemed that it was necessary to reconsider again.
“…Please forgive me. It seems that I was underestimating you.” (Felicia)
“…Sorry. I’m surely reconsidering this.” (Sheila)
“To be honest… I’ve guessed half of it… well 80% believe in you, but… yes, I’m honestly reconsidering you.” (Soma)
“You just believe me slightly more! Well, now you know I was right. You should praise me some more!” (Steina)
And if she was making noises like that, he knew someone would come without telling. Footsteps sounded from the interior, and the one who showed up was a middle age man or slightly younger.
That man would have understood that they were guests. There was a smile on his face, but the moment he saw Steina, he became surprised.
“Welcome… eh, is that you?” (Man)
“Hehe, I came as promised!” (Steina)
“This… I didn’t really expect for you to come, but thank you very much. Thank you again for the earlier.” (Man)
When they were told that, Sheila and Felicia tilted their head. Well, it was only natural that they could only speculate on the first half, and this must have something to do with the other half of the speculation.
As for Soma, he became convinced when that man said it.
Immediately after that, something happened to further complement the situation. Small footsteps echoed from the inner part, and a small shadow appeared from behind the man, which seemed to be appropriate for the sound.
“…Aah. It’s you, Onee-chan.” (??)
“Humph… I made a promise, right? So, I had no choice but to come here.” (Steina)
The other person whom Steina said such a thing while looking away was that little girl.
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