□ □ □ □
Assam said with a knock on the door. I frantically shook the indecent thoughts out of my head.
It actually took me some time before I could say that, but thankfully, I had returned to normal by then.
“We have finished inspecting the head. I will need a word with you.”
“No, there is an inspection room upstairs.”
I got up and fixed the chair before following him out of the room. We climbed the stairs that were four rooms down and reached the second floor. The room in the center of this floor was where we were going. When we entered, I was greeted by the head of the man I killed and Asagi had beheaded. It was not pleasant, and I sighed and folded my arms.
“So, who is that?”
“This man was a former Adventurer who had been terrorizing the lands around Replant. His name was Gargan Zeera. A former garnet. “
Hmm…garnet. A ‘C’ rank Adventurer. The same rank as Asagi was now. Well, Asagi was still stronger.
“He had been imprisoned in the past for repeated acts of violence and robbery. But it wasn’t until he forced himself on a woman that he was sent to the mines. However…”
“He escaped then?”
To call the management of those mines careless, would be an understatement. It was hardly surprising that people had escaped from there. If you found a way to remove your shackles, there was little other people could do to distinguish you. After all, this one was a C ranker. That meant a level of accomplishment.
“And then he began his life as a bandit.”
“Indeed. We have sent our men out after every attack, but he has always managed to escape. These bandits were living in the forest.”
That was the blood apes’ territory. It seemed insane to live in there. However, it must have been true, if they were always able to escape into the forest. But I could not understand why they were not attacked.
“So, that is who we killed.”
“Aye, I cannot thank you enough. We have suffered many times because of him.”
“You have my sympathy. We buried his men in a corner of the forest. As well as their victim.”
“I have read the report. A girl returned alone…”
“Not alone. She arrived with me and my partner.”
“That is right. I thank you again, for saving a citizen, and for killing the bandit.”
He bowed, as did the guard who had been inspecting the head. I nodded back. My business here was finished.
“Of course, there was a price put on Gargan’s head. It had gone up, not only due to his strength, but due to his repeated crimes. And so the bounty is now ten pieces of gold.”
“Hmm… I will not say no to a full purse.”
Money was money. We needed it to continue our journey, and so I would take it. That is something I learned in my many years of traveling.
“Then please confirm the amount.”
A purse of gold coins was brought and the guard emptied it on the table for me to count.
“….Yes, ten gold pieces. Thank you.”
“Thank you for everything that you have done.”
“No, it was only by chance.”
We had merely come upon them while exiting the forest. I was sad that we could not save Marie Elle’s father, but we were able to save her. I was sure that her father, who had died defending her, would be happy that she survived.
I put the purse away in my pocket and left the guard house. The wind felt much colder now on my way back to the inn. Now, things were finished…no, not really. Business-wise, it was. I was rid of the head. But Asagi’s heart was still bleeding. And I thought of little else as I walked back. This time I made no detours and remained deep in thought until I arrived.
I returned to the room and sank back under the covers. Asagi was groaning in his sleep. Perhaps I was tired of thinking too much, because I quickly fell asleep. And while I still felt a little tired, I woke up very alert the next morning. …Thought absolutely no one, but me. Asagi told me this later, but he had tried to wake me up, but I had kept sleeping. So that was why he wasn’t there when I got up. And so I absentmindedly enjoyed a morning bath… That was when Asagi had burst into the room. The rest hardly needs to be explained. We scolded an arrogant child, hunted together, talked to an annoying parent and dined on meat.
“I have to tell Asagi about it…”
About the head, of course. I sigh again and look up at the night sky. Spirits of the wind flit in the air overhead. ‘Fresh Green Eye’ allows me to see these spirits often. One of them catches my eyes and it waves happily as it descends.
Suddenly, it looks away from me and in a different direction. I follow its gaze and see Asagi, a pleasant wind of silver and green swirls around his feet. The wind spirits seem to appreciate it as well, and they clap and cheer. I felt bad that Asagi could not see them. I could not imagine not being able to see these adorable spirits.
The one that descended now lands on my shoulder. It points towards Asagi with excitement, but I put a finger in front of my lips and signal for it to be quiet. The spirit mimics the gesture and we both laugh.
Now, Silvergreen is coming. I whisper secrets to the spirit and prepare to greet him.