Mountain Pass Crossing: Toast
“Thanks to all of you, we were able to defeat the queen and return! However, not without losses. And so tonight, we shall drink to those who we lost. Drink to their memories, and tell stories of how we defeated those harpies! Now, raise your cups! To the souls of Adventurers!!”
“Souls of Adventurers!!”
Lodoz’s voice echoed in the tavern, and cups were raised for the departed souls.
The Pamar Mountain Pass descent was not easy. We had few arrows, and had lost horses and men.
Still, the caravan reached Ranaronwa without further losses. And so after finishing our business at the guild, we went to a tavern.
Everyone from the caravan participated, and so the tavern was completely packed. As they were local Adventurers, they were able to have the entire place reserved for them.
As I had not really known the fallen Adventurers, I just stayed at White Snake Scale’s table and drank quietly. And as the drinking continued, the tavern grew more lively.
“Mr. Ajifu! Are you listeninnning!”
Who let Naros drink? He can barely talk now. When I turned to the side, I saw that Leliane was bursting with laughter as she watched. So she was the culprit.
I could activate Drunkenness Killer, but… No, I would allow it tonight. I thought as I tipped the mug and poured ale down my throat.
“Hey, Ajifu. Tell us a story about your travels.”
Leliane said while holding a glass of wine. She was clearly quite drunk like the others. Well, we had talked of harpies so much on the road. So it was no wonder they might want to hear something different.
“Is it right to talk about such things today? Besides, I don’t have any interesting stories.”
“We rarely venture far from the town on the other side of the Pamar Mountain Pass. Most of the Adventurers here are the same way. And so they are eager to hear about the outside world. I’m sure they would agree.”
They… When she put it like that, I could not refuse.
It was not rare for people to have a small area of activity. Being an Adventurer was dangerous, so it would be an advantage to have to travel around and search for work. Well, if you were the kind of Adventurer who could secure a job, anyway.
“Indeed… Then I can tell you about the time in Holia, where with a group of Adventurers and mercenaries, I battled against a hundred bandits.”
The other members were interested. The contents aside, it was a battle on a rather large scale.
As I talked, people from other parties came to listen, and so I drank and went on with my story.
“…And then we made our triumphant return to the city.”
While I had left out various details, the story had been well received.
However, there was also something unexpected. The other Adventurers who had been listening in had started to gather together and talk with serious expressions.
The atmosphere was odd, and so we members of White Snake Scale looked at each other and observed them. After some time, the members of the Rodon Guards and Northwind Peak came over to our table.
Perhaps it had been a bad idea telling a story that had nothing to do with Pamar. Though, none of the people from those parties had seemed upset while I was talking…
Then the leader of the Rodon Guards stepped forward, and placed a magic stone, larger than a fist, onto the table with a heavy clink.
I had never seen a magic stone that glimmered in such a beautiful yellow color. It was the stone from the Harpy Queen.
“Ajifu. We want you to take this stone.”
“I cannot accept it.”
I said immediately.
This had already been discussed. The stone was to be sold and the money split between the parties who had lost members.
“But we want you to take it. Please.”
The eyes that stared at me did suggest it was the drink talking. They were very serious.
“But why? I don’t understand. You said that you would split it. If you do not want it, then you should just give it to the families of the deceased.”
“We will pay for that from our own pockets. After all, we cannot split it equally between us now that they are gone. And so we do not want things to end like this. If we cannot deliver it to them!”
The table shook as his fist slammed down. So that was why they hadn’t sold it.
“But you still don’t have to give it to me.”
“Listen, Ajifu. We are just local Adventurers who take jobs in Ranaronwa and Ranaleria. We always do the same work and complete it in the same way. Sure, there are dangers to it, but one would hardly consider it an adventure. But still!”
He drained his mug of ale and continued.
“We are Adventurers! We’ve dreamed of traveling to other cities and doing the kind of things that people spread tales about, just like you! And yet, while fighting in a rare and harsh battle, they were overwhelmed and died…”
Tears fell on the fist that rested on the table.
“And so! Instead of us, who live here, you can speak of their last battle in the Pamar Mountain Pass in other cities! Like you did today! With this stone… Please…”
After that, he buried his face in the table. The other members also clenched their fists and looked at me soberly.
“Damn it. I’m no bard…”
I sighed, but reached over the table for the stone. It was a battle where we had all worked together. Well, a bard might not be as interested in a story about taking on a harpy queen as a large group.
The leader of the Rodon Guards lifted his head. His already expressive face had become even more extreme.
“Pushing something onto me that I can’t sell. It is just baggage, isn’t it?”
I looked at the stone in my hand. The shiny yellow reminded me of the queen’s eyes.
“I cannot promise that I’ll have the opportunity. But if there is another day like today, I will definitely speak of it. The um, battle against the harpies in Pamar.”
“Now, enough with those sorrowful expressions, you’re making everyone sober! We must drink more now!”
I reached for my mug.
I heard Leliane mutter quietly next to me.
And when I was about to drink, Lodoz put a hand on my shoulder to stop me.
“That’s not right, Ajifu.”
He shook his head. And I looked around. Everyone had their mugs in hand. All of them…
I stood up and raised my mug high into the air. As if to reach those who we were celebrating, who were not with us today. And then I raised my voice.
“Raise your mugs! For the souls of Adventurers!!”
“Souls of Adventurers!!”
And so the voices echoed through the Ranaronwa night.
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