As for the good news, my level went up. Very good. I wanted to reach level 20 before going up to Rank F. So I suppose I had no choice but to go goblin hunting tomorrow as well… I think I’ll head out earlier than usual tomorrow. Better get some sleep then. Yeah, I’ll do that.
I pull the blanket up to my chin and close my eyes. Ahh, it was a stark contrast to sleeping in the trees… I was practically asleep now. Two, three breaths and my consciousness was gone.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
The goblin hunting, or should I say, herb gathering went well the next day. I dug the dirt around the roots so as to cleanly remove the plants before putting them in my bag. Then it was off to chasing goblins until nightfall. Strangely, I never bumped into any other adventurers. I even asked the girl at Reception about this once.
“Ahhh. Well, there aren’t many newcomers here, lately. Everyone else goes out the west gate and to the forest with all the wolves. By the way, Asagi. Did you go deep into the forest? Hmm?
Apparently, I was one of the only ‘Rocks’ around here. It was kind of lonely to not have any contemporaries around, but it also meant no fighting or competing. It was kind of great to be able to work in peace.
Then a few days passed and I had fifteen successful quests under my belt and so was raised to Rank F. Or as they called it, ‘Obsidian.’ I was better than Rock, I guess. But I think they could have spent more time coming up with a name…
Well, this was their old custom, so there was no point in thinking about it. They clearly didn’t.
My level had also passed 20. I felt rewarded for my efforts, but the guild worker had glared at me with a frightening look. It was a look that said, ‘Damn bastard. You’ve gone too far just because people were staying quiet!’ But I could bear it, I was stronger now. Don’t lock eyes, don’t make excuses, stay friendly. That’s all you needed to get out of most scrapes.
“Asagi. Is Mr. Asagi here?”
The guild worker at Rewards, who always helped me, was calling. But I had already received the reward for the herbs…
“Yes, what is it?”
“Mr. Asagi, since your level has reached 20, your rank will be raised to E. Please hand over your status card.”
Hmm? But I only just reached rank F?
“Please hand over your status card.”
“Um, but I was raised to F just now…”
“Ranks can go up through the number of successful quests as well as level count. As you have willfully hopped your way up, I discussed it with the guild master and it was decided that your rank would go up as well. So please, hand over your status card.”
There was something harsh in the way she said it… But really, had I known this I would have raised my level even more.
But she looked like she was about to explode, so I quickly handed over my card. She disappeared in the back room for a moment and then returned. That was quick.
“Mr. Asagi, you are now Rank E. Commonly called, ‘Crystal.’”
I took my card back.
“Please don’t push yourself too hard. There’s no coming back once you die.”
“You’re very kind. You take care of yourself too, miss.”
“Thank you. But my name is not ‘miss.’ I have a proper name, ‘Fiona.’ So please refer to me by that name from now on!”
That was an out of the blue introduction. It was hard to tell how familiar adventurers were supposed to be with guild workers.
“Well then, Fiona. Have a good day.”
“You too, Asagi.”
So saying, she gave me a wink. This girl, was she coming onto me?
That was the idiotic thought in my head as I left the guild house. But, of course, I was alert to my surroundings. There was a thick atmosphere of unease.
In other words, it was time for an all-out dash.
“Ahh! That shit. He’s running away again!!”
“Damn! He’s fast!”
“How dare he talk with Fiona so lightheartedly!!!”
Spite, scorn, envy. Their words were full of it. Unfortunately, I had better things to do right now. So I left them there and set off for the Chief’s smithy.